Fritz Peterson, former Yankees pitcher known for swapping wives with teammate, dies at 82

NEW YORK – Inside Foley’s New York, the former standby Manhattan baseball bar, a signed photo of ex-Yankees pitcher Fritz Peterson was among the vast memorabilia.

“I swapped this autograph for a beer!" Peterson wrote, a glimpse of his whimsical way.

A left-hander who won 20 games as an AL All-Star in 1970, retiring with the lowest all-time ERA at the original Yankee Stadium, 2.52, Peterson has died at age 82, according to a statement Friday by the Yankees.

In their release, the Yankees remembered Peterson as “a formidable pitcher and an affable presence throughout his nine years in pinstripes," teaming with the late Mel Stottlemyre atop their rotation.

Besides swapping autographs for beers, Peterson became more popularly known for swapping families with staff mate Mike Kekich during the Yankees’ spring training of 1973.

As author and former Yankees executive Marty Appel wrote in his book ‘Pinstripe Empire,’ the trade was “more of a life swap" exchanging wives and homes.

Unlike Kekich, whose partnership ended quickly, Peterson was in his 50th year of marriage at the time of his death.

According to the New York Post, Peterson had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2018, after overcoming prostate cancer.

"A known prankster and well-liked among his teammates and coaches, Peterson had an outgoing personality and inquisitive nature that brought lightheartedness to the clubhouse on a regular basis and belied his prowess on the mound – most notably his impeccable control, which was among the best in the Majors," read the Yankees statement, in part.

Peterson grew up in the Chicago suburbs and fashioned a career 3.30 ERA with a 133-131 record over 11 MLB seasons, concluding with the Texas Rangers in 1976.

A 12-game winner during his 1966 rookie season, Peterson was 81-66 with a 2.88 ERA during his prime as a Yankee from 1968 through 1972, averaging 254 innings per season.

The Yankees offered their “heartfelt condolences" to Susanne and the entire Peterson family.

This article originally appeared on Fritz Peterson, Yankees P who swapped wife with Mike Kekich, dies