Former Yankee Fritz Peterson, who swapped wives with teammate, dead at 82

New York Yankees pitcher Fritz Peterson throws during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore circa 1972. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Ex-Yankees pitcher and 1970 All-Star, Fritz Peterson, has died at the age of 82. 

Peterson spent 11 seasons in the big leagues, nine of them with New York. He was known as a top-notch starting pitcher in pinstripes.

He was also best known for exchanging wives and children with his teammate Mike Kekich.

In 2018, he told The Post that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease after previously overcoming prostate cancer. 


Fritz Peterson pitched for the New York Yankees from 1966-74. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Who is Fritz Peterson?

From 1968 to 1972, Peterson led the American League in walks per nine innings, all while leading the majors three times. 

He had the AL's best WHIP and K/BB in 1969 and 1970. During those years, he pitched to a 2.88 ERA, the 12th-best ERA in that span.

The lefty went 133-131 with a 3.30 career ERA, retiring after a brief stint with the Texas Rangers in 1976. 

Peterson-Kekich wife swap

In spring training of 1973, Peterson and Kekich agreed to swap families. Peterson joked that it was actually a husband-for-husband trade.

As the New York Post notes, the families were hanging out at former baseball writer Maury Allen's house on July 15, 1972. Apparently, that's when the teammates began to fall in love with the other's wife.

"We did that, and we had so much fun together, Susanne and I and Mike and Marilyn, that we decided, ‘Hey, this is fun, let’s do it again,'" Peterson told the Palm Beach Post in 2013. "We did it the next night. We went out to the Steak and Ale in Fort Lee. Mike and Marilyn left early and Susanne and I stayed and had a few drinks and ate.

"It was just really fun being able to talk to somebody. All of us felt the same way. We went on from there, and eventually he fell in love with my wife and I fell in love with his."

Peterson remained with his new wife for the rest of his life, while Kekich and the former Mrs. Peterson didn't last all that long.

"That’s the only thing I feel bad for, that they didn’t work out because we all figured it could all work out,’’ Peterson said.

Fox News contributed to this report.