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Real Life Wife Swap: The Baseball Players Who Traded Families And Stunned America

New York Daily News

If you've watched the hit reality show Wife Swap, you know that most families don't react well when two parents from different households switch places.

After a week without their mother, the husbands and kids on the show are usually begging for her to switch back.

But in the swinging '70s, a pair of New York baseball players swapped their entire families lock, stock, and barrel.

In what the players now call "the husband trade," New York Yankees pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich exchanged their wives, children, and even their family dogs.

And the most incredible detail about the entire situation is that, after more than 45 years, one family has no regrets about the swap.

The trade started in the summer of 1972, when teammates Kekich and Peterson, former roommates and close friends, took each other's wives to dinner after a party.

The idea was such a hit with both couples that it became a regular habit.

From left to right: Susanne Kekich, Mike Kekich, Marilyn Peterson, Fritz Peterson.Palm Beach Post

"We went on from there and eventually he fell in love with my wife and I fell in love with his," Peterson explained.

By 1973, Peterson had moved in with Kekich's wife Susanne and her two daughters.

Meanwhile, Kekich had settled with Marilyn Peterson and her two sons.

Incredibly, when the players finally revealed the swap in a pair of press conferences, Peterson asked newspapers not to make anything "sordid" out of the arrangement.

"Unless people know the full details," Kekich told the press, "it could turn out to be a nasty type thing. Don't say this was wife-swapping, because it wasn't. We didn't swap wives, we swapped lives."

But sadly, this unbelievable, true love story only had half a happy ending.

By the time the "husband trade" hit the newspapers, the summer of love was over and Kekich's new marriage was falling apart.

“After a while, it became apparent that Susanne and Fritz were ideally suited for each other," the pitcher said about the other side of the deal.

But he felt that he and Marilyn were "born under the same sign, we sometimes butt heads. She and I are on a higher pitch in our emotions."

The speedy breakup of Kekich and Marilyn's relationship is the only thing Peterson admitted to regretting about the trade over the last four decades.

"I have no regrets," he said in a 1973 interview. "Only for my kids. It's hard to think of them with no father."

Peterson with his first wife Marilyn (right) and his current wife Susanne (left).New York Daily News

If you had to guess how this story ended, you wouldn't have imagined that Peterson and Susanne would stay together, but that's just the case.

“It’s a love story,” he told the Palm Beach Post. “It wasn’t anything dirty.”

"I could not be happier with anybody in the world. ‘Mama’ and I go out and party every night,’’ he told the paper. “We’re still on the honeymoon and it has been a real blessing.’’

Would you ever even consider a crazy idea like this?

[H/T: New York Daily News, Palm Beach Post]