US baseball star Fritz Peterson dead at 82 after Alzheimer’s battle

The New York Yankees have paid tribute to their star of the 1960s and 1970s, Fritz Peterson

Former New York Yankees pitcher Fritz Peterson has died aged 82 following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The US star became a global news story in the 1970s for famously swapping wives and families with teammate Mike Kekitch. A bizarre situation saw the two friends exchange partners, kids and even pets with each other.

His new relationship lasted, but Kekitch and Peterson’s ex-wife soon split. He enjoyed an eight-year career at the Yankees before representing the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers in his later career.

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A deeply religious man, Peterson survived prostate cancer twice and was a “known prankster”, proving popular with his teammates.

Career highlights include featuring in the 1970 all-star game between the American League and the National League, where his team narrowly lost 5-4.

Post-baseball, he worked as a blackjack dealer at a casino in Illinois. The Yankees paid tribute to their former star following news of his passing.

“The Yankees are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Fritz Peterson, who was a formidable pitcher and affable presence throughout his nine years in pinstripes," an announcement read.

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“Along with longtime teammate Mel Stottlemyre, Peterson was part of a devastating one-two combination at the top of the Yankees’ rotation. 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.”

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