The Petersons and the Kekichs prior to the trade. Left to right: Marilyn Peterson, Fritz Peterson, Susanne Kekich, Mike Kekich
The Petersons and the Kekichs prior to the trade. Left to right: Marilyn Peterson, Fritz Peterson, Susanne Kekich, Mike Kekich

One of the more controversial trades in baseball history was announced on 04 March 1973, just before the start of the 1973 baseball season. Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson, both pitchers for the New York Yankees, called separate press conferences to announce to the world that they had decided to “trade lives.” “Don’t make anything sordid out of this,” 31-year-old Peterson implored the press. His 27-year-old colleague Kekich agreed. “Don’t say this was wife-swapping, because it wasn’t. We didn’t swap wives, we swapped lives.” Kekich’s wife Susanne traded places with Peterson’s wife Marilyn, along with each family’s children and pets. The idea to swap husbands in this way had apparently began as a lark some months earlier, but upon trying it out, they enjoyed the change and decided to make it permanent.

Fritz Peterson and Susanne were still happily married as of 2013, forty years after the infamous trade. “I could not be happier with anybody in the world,” Fritz Peterson said in a 2013 interview. “‘Mama’ and I go out and party every night. We’re still on the honeymoon and it has been a real blessing.” As for Mike Kekich and Marilyn, they separated after just a few years. When asked about his relationship with Peterson, he said, “I’d like to kill him,” though it is unclear whether this was said in jest. As of the 2013 interview, the two retired pitchers had not spoken for over ten years.