Former New York Yankees lefty pitcher Fritz Peterson is perhaps better known for his colorful off-field antics than his 10-year career in the ballpark. He played for the Yankees from 1966 until 1974, then played two years for the Cleveland Indians and briefly in 1976 for the Texas Rangers before retiring the same year.
It was announced during the last game in Yankee Stadium in September 2008 that Fritz set the stadium’s all-time lowest earned run average of 2.52, a record that remains as the stadium was demolished. Fritz also has the distinction of being starting pitcher for the Yankees in their last game in the original Yankee Stadium before its complete renovation for the 1973 season.
In 1969 and 1970, Fritz held the best strikeout-to-walk ratios in the American League. 1970 was considered his best season, however, during which he pitched 20-11 was well as in the All Star game.
In March 1973, Fritz and fellow Yankees pitcher Mike Kekich, who had been best friends since 1969, caused a sensation when they announced they had swapped families the previous October, including wives, kids, the Kekiches’ terrier and the Petersons’ poodle. The families had often socialized together.
“We may have to call of Family Day, “ a Yankees executive later commented.