…which you have to admit, is slightly less spectacular than comparing yourself to Bob Gibson. Fomer Yankee starter Fritz Peterson is characterized by the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden as, “delightfully flaky”, in a nod to a libertine lifestyle that made headlines nearly 40 years ago. That’s a description that’s slightly easier to swallow than say, Cole Hamels calling himself “old school”.
“I hit 42 batters in my career,” Peterson said, “every one of them deliberately.”
He’s quite proud of that, if only because it says something about his control, and also because, in his mind, it helped him last as long as he did in the big leagues, with a 133-131 record from 1966-76, including a 20-11 season with the Yankees in 1970 and two other 17-win seasons for them.
“All of my pitching strategy was about winning games and giving myself an advantage,” Peterson said. “I didn’t throw that hard, upper 80s most of the time, and so I had to use purpose pitches. Hitting batters was part of my game plan.”
And Peterson can remember each and every one of his 42 victims with great pride.
“My all-time favorite was probably Rick Monday ,” Peterson said, “even though I broke his elbow with a pitch that put him out for 50 games. I felt terrible after about that, but at the time I took great pleasure in hitting him because, in my mind, he was this brash guy from California who needed to be taught a lesson.”