While the likes of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are amongst New York’s most celebrated bachelors, at one time, the sanctity of marriage was a hot topic in and around the Bronx. The New York Post reported earlier today that former Yankee P Mike Kekich is “desperate to block” production of “The Trade”, a Ben Affleck helmed motion picture concerning Kekich and fellow P Fritz Peterson swapping wives in 1973. In a discussion about Peterson’s 2009 memoir, “Mickey Mantle Is Going To Heaven”, the New York Times’ Joe LaPointe called the exchange, “something out of a John Updike novel.”
Peterson moved in with Kekich’s wife; Kekich moved in with Peterson’s wife. Although Marilyn Peterson did not stay long with Kekich, Fritz married Susanne Kekich.
The Yankees and Peterson stayed together for one more year after the swap was disclosed; Fritz and Susanne have remained together for 35. But one of many strange things about Peterson’s quirky book is that he does not mention his spouse by name, only as “my new wife.” She opposed his book, he said.
“She’s pretty sensitive about that stuff,” Peterson said. “She read the first three chapters and then stopped.”
In the book, Peterson treated the exchange of wives in a peripheral way and complained about how the story was handled in the news media. He said he still communicates occasionally with Kekich by e-mail. “If I saw him at an Old-Timers’ game, we’d have some great laughs,” Peterson said.
Peterson said he rushed the book into publication before his wife could talk him out of it, and critical readers will notice misspellings and rambling repetitions.
And Yankees fans might be taken aback by some of Peterson’s judgments of others. He is an evangelical Christian who used to work with the Baseball Chapel, a man not without sin who is casting a few stones.
In some respects, the Peterson book echoes the “Ball Four” tell-all by Jim Bouton. Coincidentally, Peterson and Bouton roomed together, but Peterson said he had not read Bouton’s book and was offended that Bouton never told him he was keeping a diary.