Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson Autographs

Little did we know. It was 1971. I was 9. The 1971 New York Yankees were a disappointment. The previous year they won 93 games and came in second. In 1971 they slipped to 82-80 and came in fourth. Promising left-handed pitcher Fritz Peterson won 20 games in ’70, and was 15-13 in’71: respectable but a letdown. Mike Kekich was also a lefty, and the team’s fifth starter. He did not show as much potential as Peterson, but you never know with lefty pitchers. They surprise you sometimes.

My Dad and I collaborated in collecting Yankee autographs. Although he drew both of these, mostly he encouraged me to create my own autograph cards, especially when I was a few years older. We obtained both of these in 1971.

Kekich wrote: “Straight Ahead –  Mike Kekich”

Peterson’s annotation was “To Mark, Best wishes, Fritz Peterson.”

But the real surprise came in 1973, when Kekich and Peterson announced that they had swapped wives. Not just for a night. Not just for a fling. For good. In fact they swapped their entire families, including children and pets. This wasn’t exactly what my Dad had was expecting with me reading the sports section. Whether as a result, or just by chance, neither pitcher had much of a career afterwards. Ahh the innocence of 1971.



  1. Oh my! What a story and what amazing memories for you! Very cool!