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The Miami News from Miami, Florida • 39

The Miami Newsi
Miami, Florida
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1 frr -t 4 1 fetfU 1 HAPPIER DAYS: (left to right) Mar-llyn Peterson, Mike Kekich, Susanne Kekich and Fritz 'By American standards, I had a good marriage. I came into this thinking I could have a great marriage. It could have worked out. I thought it had a better chance than Mike Kekkh St Mike 5 JOHN CRITTENDEN It Spors Edfor "Somewhere Inside, I'd like to kill him," said New York Yankee pitcher Mike Kekich, speaking of his team- mate, Fritz Peterson. "But," Kekich added, "he's going to be the father of my kids." Peterson thought of his own childen.

"It breaks me up to think of my children as having no father, no family," he said yesterday. "But it was worth anything, even the Confronted with rumors' which have reverberated around the spring training camp since the Yankee pitchers arrived in Fort Lauderdale two weeks ago, Peterson and Kekich presented themselves to discuss what had only been whispered about until yesterday. Friends for four years, with adjoining lockers In New York's Yankee Stadium, roommates when the team was on the road, and with homes not far apart in New Jersey, the two lefthanded pitchers made a radical change in their lives by mutual agreement at the end of the 1972 baseball season. They exchanged wives. Each couple had been married for seven years and all four decided that they saw something they wanted in the other's nuptial partner.

It was more than a swap of wives, said Peterson yesterday. "We swapped lives," he said. They exchanged children and even swapped the family dogs. It was idealistic and daring and "I can't tell you how perfect it would have been for all of us if it had worked out," said Kekich. But only half of the new arrangement worked.

Peterson and Kekich's wife are apparently happy together and say they will marry when they are free. Kekich and Peterson's wife are still together, but do not plan to stay together. Regardless of how it turns out, it does not appear that the original wife and husband pairings will be reunited. same sign of the Zodiac. We butted heads.

It fell apart." Meanwhile, Kekich says Susanne, still his legal wife, and Peterson are more ideally suited. "They're very loose together," he said, "like two hibernating bears." After seven years of marriage, he had grown tired of hibernation, said Kekich. "My wife used to be interested in art and music," he said. "She stopped all that. She used to be smart.

I put pressure on her to try to do more with herself. She was saying 'why can't you be happy, I Love is a funny thing. It can become real big. It can also wear down. I exhibit affection.

I can't stand to initiate everything and not receive. I hate it. Even holding hands, I had to do it. It gave me the feeling of not being loved." Peterson said of his original marriage, "I suppose I was henpecked. I had to check at home first before I did anything.

Now I feel free to be a person. Susanne (his present partner) and I felt we were both dominated." "AH four of us at one time or another tried to stop it (the switch) but the others talked us out of it," said Kekich. In the process, there were jokes. Peterson recalled someone talking of it in terms of a baseball swap Mrs. Peterson to be traded for Mrs.

Kekich, with children to be named later. Now there is no laughter about that part of it. "If I estrange him," Kekich said of Peterson, "I'm only hurting myself. He is going to raise my kids. I want to spend as much time with them as possible." It is uncertain with which parent the children will go, but Peterson's five-year-old son, Gregg, was with his mother and Kekich at one time.

"If they don't make it, I worry about what will happen to Gregg," Peterson said yesterday. During the period when the Petersons and Kekichs were undergoing their Thanksgiving-to-Christmas reconciliation, there was a strain on everyone. "When Fritz phoned Susanne (Mrs. Kekich), she lit up like a Christmas tree," said Kekich. Peterson was broadcasting New York Raider Peterson said, "Susanne (Mrs.

Kekich) is what I always wanted to live with for the rest of my life. My wife is unhappy She'd like to go back. She's asked me to come back. I'm just not going back. Susanne can go back if she wants.

I'm not." The story of Fritz and Susanne and Mike and Marilyn started with a family relationship their homes were seven miles apart and turned into something else, which included months of discussion of how it might be resolved. A communal relationship was discussed, but rejected. "It wasn't a passive thing," said Kekich. "There was a lot of fire, a lot of crying and screaming and a lot of laughing. "By American standards, I had a good marriage," Kekich said.

"I came into this thinking I could have a great marriage." He spoke of degrees of love. "It could have worked out," Kekich said. "I thought it had a better chance than not." For two months, the exchange seemed to go well for Kekich and his new partner. "It was a fantastic storybook relationship," he said. Then the Petersons and Kekichs decided to return, briefly, to their original partners again.

"We wanted to make sure for greater happiness," Kekich said. But when it came time for the trial reconciliation to end, Peterson's wife wanted to stay with her original partner. That's when half of the switch shattered. Said Kekich of Marilyn Peterson, "We're so alike. We're both under the Tuesday, March 6, 1973 Section hockey games at the time, and traveling with the team.

VI didn't care if the plane-went down." Peterson said. "I told my wife I just had to have Susanne. Mike wanted Marilyn the same way." The situation concerning the children, Rea- gan Kekich, 2, and his sister Kristen (six years old today), and Greg Peterson, 5, and Eric Peterson, 2, is unclear. The Yankees encouraged yesterday's discussion with the press, as if openly talking about the matter would -make it less controversial. Peterson says he asked to be traded.

The Yankees, favored to win the American League East, are reluctant to let a 17-game 1972 winner go. Kekich, a starter for most of the season last year, who finished with a 10-13 won-lost record, says he doesn't want to be traded because he wants to stay in New York to be near his children. Both claim to believe that they can keep their lives apart, on the baseball field and away from it. "Their personal lives are their own business," said Yankee manager Ralph Houk. "They live their own lives and they've got lot of years to live.

If you're not happy, you have to remember you only go through the world once. Why go through it unhappy?" But its all for the best Jim Palmer sad; he lost his bat I l-i'rfS: tti i ic 1 1 tJ yv By JONATHAN RAND Mliml Newt Rtportir Jim Paimer talks about his hitting career in the past tense. "I enjoyed it, it was 'a challenge," says the Baltimore Orioles' 20-game winner the past three seasons. Last season, his hits helped score the winning run in seven of his 21 victories. This season, though, Jim Palmer will get no such help from Jim Palmer.

ular basis. Despite their slip from 61 victories in 1971 to 52 last year, they remain among baseball's best starting rotations. The new rule, figures -Palmer, should keep them in the game longer. "You won't have to worry about being taken out for a pinch-hitter and you won't get tired run- ning bases. I think it could take a lot out of you, depending on the situation.

If it's a close game and you've got to run hard or if you get thrown i out at the end of the inning trying to score, then I you might be tired." Apparently, Palmer can live with the designated hitter. To people who believe changing the rules of baseball is like striking out passages Jfrom the Bible, though, the 10th man violates thejjdeal of the all-around player. Were the rule arourjd 50 years ago, they scream, Babe Ruth would be remembered as a good lefthanded pitcher. he said yes- "I haven't seen a bat this terday at Miami Stadium. when Baltimore's staff was not dead wood.

"The 1970 playoffs (against Minnesota) are a good example. (Mike) Cuellar hit a grand slam in the first game; (Dave) McNally's single drove in a run to help us win the second game and in the third game I got on twice (a single and two-base error) and we won, 6-1. "Pitchers aren't supposed to do those things, and when you do it's a real lift. When I gave up a hit to a pitcher, it was a tremendous letdown for me." The opposing pitcher, of course, has always been the soft spot in the lineup. There was never an out so true.

You could always trust that man with the .100 average to kill a rally when it was too early in the game to hit for him. "You can't pitch around the eighth man now. Then you've got to worry about the first man," Palmer says. "The better pitchers will have a better chance because they're the ones who can gpt out the good hitters anyway. "I think it's going to be tougher on the mediocre pitcher; he has trouble getting the good hitters out and he's probably on a weak club and won't have a good designated hitter to help him out.

That's one dude that's gonna be in trouble." Baltimore's starters should not be in trouble. The league's cleanup hitters do not enjoy seeing Palmer, Mike Cuellar and Dave McNally on a reg There is no reason he should. This year, Palmer's position in the batting order and that of every other pitcher in the American League will be filled by a designated hitter. "I'm sure lot of guys won't mind because it's something they couldn't do in the first place," he says. Palmer could.

His .224 average last year was only five points below that of his team. "I usually bat at least .200," he says. "I can hit a long ball and I can bunt, meaning that normally I have the jump on the opposing pitcher. Well, if the two of us are kept away from the plate this year in favor of the designated hitter, I am going to lose that jump. So will (New York's) Mel Stottlemyre.

The guy it'll hurt most is Catfish Hunter." The Oakland pitcher is considered the best hitter in the league at his position. Like all pitchers, Palmer loves to talk about his good days at bat. He remembers well the days "Yeah, but they're the same people are complaining that there aren't enough 'runs scored," Palmer says. "There probably aren't enough runs scored because the pitchers don't get enough hits. And pitchers who can hit are as rare as a home run in Baltimore last year." In addition to their weak average, the Orioles' home run, total fell off to 100.

At Miami Stadium it is the first eight men in the lineup who remain the outstanding conversation piece. I Miami News Staff Photo Jim Palmer wants to get his licks at plate Gulfstream speeding, so is its horses jy '4l Hope Eternal was third. Life Cycle ran the one mile on the grass in 1:35 2-5 and paid $4.00. Windtex, with John Rotz up, got the lead on the far turn and won by a length over Getajetholme. Prince Of Truth was third.

Windtex was timed in 1:35 1-5 and paid $9.00. Gulfstream was a speed track yesterday on dirt and on grass. The speed won all the sprints on the dirt and all the grass races as well. Gulfstream's grass course, one of the best in the By ART GRACE Miami Newi Racing Editor La Prevoyante stumbled but Gulfstream Park is off and running in its quest to prove it can do more business than Hialeah and that i it deserves another chance at the middle dates. La Prevoyante, unbeaten and North America's filly champion at 2, acted startled when the gates opened for the fifth race.

When it was over she wasn't nearly so startled as the players who made her l-to-5 in her3-year-old debut. Prevoyante had not been out since Nov. 11. Life Cycle and Windtex won the two divisions of the not terribly exciting Apple-ton Handicap. Both were close up all the way.

Life Cycle, with Frank Iannelli up, ran his eyeballs out at Hialeah against the very best grass horses in the country and finished second and third. The competition was a little less stringent in the Ap-pleton. He took the lead turning for home and won by three parts of a length over fast -closing Roundhouse. "She acted startled when the bell rang," LeBlanc said. "She stumbled a little and just couldn't seem to get herself together the first few strides.

She moved up easy and I thought we had it when we turned for home. But I knew at the eighth pole we going to catch the other filly." La Prevoyante was 12-for-12 last year and will be very tough to beat next time which should be in about two weeks. Bold Memory had run three times at Hialeah; La La Prevoyante broke last, moved into contention with consummate ease and had dead aim at Bold Memory turning for home. But a funny thing happened from the eighth pole home. The margin between the two fil-lies widened instead of-decreasing and Bold Memory won by three lengths, equalling the track record by going six furlongs in 1:08 4-5.

John LeBlanc, who rode La Prevoyante, realized he could not win at the eighth pole and wrapped up. if 4 I ff t) At country, is a seven-eighths course and definitely favors speed. The turns are sharp and starting today the Irish (temporary) rail is up, which adds to the discomfiture of stretchrunners on the turf (and masochists who bet on them). Gulfstream opened with a crowd of 17,097 and a handle of $1,932,718. The figures delighted track president James Donn Jr.

especially when he compared them with Hialeah's opening a year ago when Hialeah suffered its first meeting ever with the end-of-the season dates. Hialeah opened in 1972 with a of 15,017 and a play of only $1,521,179 and went downhill after that. Hialeah had a disappointing meeting with the middle dates this year which makes Gulfstream's opening a bit more impressive. Gulfstream always has done well with the end dates but doesn't want them any more. While Gulfstream smashed Hialeah in comparative opening figures, it did not quite match its 1971 opening with the end dates when a crowd of 17,933 bet $1,947,107.

But if, as it seemed at Hialeah, Florida is in a downward spiral in horse racing atten- Continued on 4D, CoL Broce times, Sdilee prospers IT'S OKAY, KID: Jockey John LeBlanc gives his lady, La Prevoyante, a little kiss after she lost her first race yesterday at Gulfstream. nally afford to live the way I've been living for the past seven years. I had built a home in Dallas and had over extended myself a little. At least now I can pay for it took Schlee that long to win his first tournament, the Hawaiian Open, last month. A victory might have come a lot sooner if the money had held out "I ran out of money three times," Schlee said.

"Three times I've had to pack up and go home. One year I didn't even have the money to hop a plane back to (Dallas) Texas, so I wrote a bad check. I knew it was bad, but I had to get home. know, I think it was right here in Miami that I wrote tifiit check. Yea, it top 60.

1 don't have to worry now." Since winning the $40,000 first prize at Hawaii, Schlee has taken things nice and easy. "I've taken some time off, relaxed, played in the tournaments I wanted to. I've just been out here yuk-king it up, that's all. "A lot of people have told me not to let up, that I could have a hell of a year after the way I've starteC. But what the heck.

After you make so much money the Continued on 8D, CoL 4 was. I was playing in the National Airlines at the Country Club of Miami, I think it was 1970, when the funds dried up." Schlee is back in Miami to compete in the $150,000 Doral-Eastern Open golf tournament being held at the Doral Country Club this week. This time, however, Schlee doesn't have to worry about money. He is, so to speak, financially solvent. "Winning has made a big difference in my life," Schlee said.

"For one thing, people, aren't saying John Who? anymore. For another, I can fi By GENE WILLIAMS Miami News Reporter Back when he was losing his shirt, when the money ran out regularly, when he had to bounce a check just to get home, John Schlee never lost faith. Like the old song, Schlee knew his day would come. "It was only a matter of time," Schlee said yesterday. "I knew I was good enough to win on the PGA tour, that I had the ability.

It had to come sooner or later." As it turned out, it was later sen years later. It Clarence bowls fco high Attoclattd Prtsi DAYTON, Ohio Clarence Peters was kicked out of a Dayton bowling league last week because his average had reached 181, one pin too high for the league's regulations. "I guess I should consider it an honor. If I had known I was that close to 181 1 might have just let down and not done well the last couple of frames," he said. Petersjs 74 years old.

"And winning means I can play in the British Open this summer, or travel a little, maybe Japan then Australia. I never had the time to do these things before. I was never solidly in the top 60 for exemptions. It was always pretty much a fight way into summer before I could be sure I'd make.

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