Monday, May 20, 2024

#46 Fritz Peterson - New York Yankees

Fred Ingles Peterson
New York Yankees

Bats:  Both  Throws:  Left  Height:  6'0"  Weight:  185
Born:  February 8, 1942, Chicago, IL
Signed:  Signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent before 1963 season
Major League Teams:  New York Yankees 1966-1974; Cleveland Indians 1974-1976; Texas Rangers 1976
Died:  October 19, 2023, Winona, MN (age 81)

Fritz Peterson pitched in 11 big league seasons, primarily with the Yankees, where he enjoyed an All-Star season in 1970.  Peterson joined the Yankees' starting pitching rotation during their waning years in the late 1960s.  He was a 12 game winner in 1966, and again in 1968, and in 1969 he and Mel Stottlemyre (#470) formed a formidable duo atop the starting pitching rotation.  Peterson won 17 games that season and would be a 20-game winner in 1970, his career year.  Peterson was 20-11 with a 2.90 ERA in 260 1/3 innings pitched and was named to the American League All-Star team.  He'd have success again in 1971 and 1972, winning 15 and 17 games respectively.

In the spring of 1973, Peterson gained notoriety by switching spouses, kids and dogs with teammate Mike Kekich (#262).  His pitching declined after the swap, and the Yankees dealt him to Cleveland in April 1974.  Peterson would pitch for three more seasons with the Indians and briefly with the Rangers before retiring from baseball.  In 355 career games, 288 of those with the Yankees, Peterson was 133-131 with a 3.30 ERA.

Building the Set / 
Card #287
November 18, 2023 from The TWP Card Show - Sicklerville, NJ (Sal's Sports Cards & Memorabilia)
I wrote about this show back in December at The Phillies Room.  My wife Jenna found an announcement on Faceback for a baseball card show to be held at St. Charles Borromeo Hall in Sicklerville, New Jersey on November 18th.  That Saturday, I gathered my lists and we made the short drive to what the organizers called the "First Ever Sports Card Show" in Washington Township, which I find hard to believe given the number of baseball card stores in the area back in the 1980s and 1990s.  Potential mislabeling aside, it was a decent-sized show with mostly modern stuff and slabbed Pokemon cards.  

I found the one dealer selling vintage cards, and cleaned him out of every 1969 Topps card I needed for our set, along with a few 1959 Topps cards for our next set build.  This Peterson card was one of seven cards added to our 1969 Topps set.  Credit to Jenna for finding the show, and if it happens again, I'll gladly make the 10 minute drive over there.

The Card / Yankees Team Set / Accuracy Index +1
The photo used by Topps is the same photo used for Peterson's 1967 Topps card.  Peterson's pinpoint control is referenced on the back, and he had only 426 career walks to his 1,015 strikeouts in 2,218 1/3 innings pitched.  He led the league in strikeouts/base on balls ratio in 1969 and 1970, and his 2.383 ratio is currently 207th all-time.  I also love the description of his "curve that drives batters daffy."

Accuracy Index:  Peterson drops to +1 given we've seen the photo before.

1969 Season
Peterson started the season third in the Yankees' starting pitching rotation behind Stottlemyre and Stan Bahnsen (#380).  He was 17-16 in 37 starts, second only to Stottlemyre on the club in wins and games started.  Peterson led the team with a 2.55 ERA and 150 strikeouts, accomplished over 272 innings pitched.  He tossed 16 complete games and four shutouts.

1966 Topps #584
1967 Topps #495
1971 Topps #460
1973 Topps #82
1976 Topps #255

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  1966 Topps #584
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (11):  1966-1976
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1990 Swell Baseball Greats #79
Total Non-Parallel Baseball Cards:  70 in the Beckett online database as of 4/27/24.

Baseball Reference / Wikipedia

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