36 Years On, Wife Swap Taught Need For Privacy

On March 5, 1973, Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich, best friends and teammates with the Yankees, engaged in the oddest trade in the history of sports, and possibly American culture in general. No, they didn’t trade gloves, or hats or even lockers. They traded families, and they started their new lives 36 years ago today. While the event is usually remembered for its sheer absurdity, it does have a legacy that lives today: It helped emphasize the need for absolute privacy in athletes’ personal lives away from the field.

Mike Kekich Fritz Peterson

(The original Kekiches on the left and Petersons on the right.)

The move has certainly changed the lives of both pitchers. Peterson still lives with Susanne Kekich, but Mike Kekich and Marilyn Peterson lasted only a few months. Neither pitcher lasted more than another few years in the major leagues, either, with Peterson flaming out with the Indians a year later and Kekich struggling to stay in the bigs for three more years, pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan a year after the wife swap just to keep his career on track.

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