February 25, 2011
Best buds Ben Affleck and Matt Damon might be used to having every door opened for them in Hollywood.
But even their star power still can't get them behind the scenes of one of the most intriguing stories in baseball history.
According to the New York Post, Affleck is running into trouble when it comes to "The Trade," a movie he's writing with his brother, Casey. The film centers on the memorable "life swap" scandal that New York Yankees pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson staged in 1973. The teammates made controversial headlines everywhere by deciding to trade everything — wives, children, even their dogs.
Though it hasn't been confirmed, Affleck and Damon would presumably play the roles of the pitchers. It's also rumored that Damon could direct the movie. But it might not even get that far, as Kekich has reportedly rebuffed Affleck's attempts to mine him for more material.
A source tells us, "Kekich is panic-stricken. He has moved away and has a new identity. He is freaked out that those working on the movie found out where he is. He isn't too keen on having the scandal dredged up again after all this time.
That's not too surprising, as almost every "Where Are They Now?" article has contained the line "both Kekich and Peterson declined to comment for this story." If they wanted to cash in, they could have done so a long time before a pair of Boston Red Sox fans optioned their tale a short while after the success of "Good Will Hunting." The article does not say whether Peterson is cooperating, though it would seem doubtful given their past stonewalling.
According to this Sports Illustrated article from August 2000, Kekich and Peterson want to let the past be the past. While Peterson and Susanne Kekich stayed together after the unusual trade — the N.Y. Post says they live in New Jersey and Colorado — the union between Kekich and Marilyn Peterson did not last.
The Mike & Marilyn combination [...] quickly unraveled. Three months after the pitchers went public, Kekich was shipped off to Cleveland and would start only eight more games in the majors. He is remarried and living in Albuquerque, where his current occupation is unknown; he made unsuccessful attempts at a career in medicine and a paramedic business. Marilyn has taken her two children and opted for what one report calls "Midwestern obscurity" — which, presumably, is not a place where kooky New York lefthanders swap wives.
So where do Affleck and Damon go from here? Well, they could forge ahead with the story by talking with teammates, team officials and media from that era. David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin, after all, didn't need Mark Zuckerberg's cooperation to make "The Social Network" a success.
But if Affleck and Damon don't believe they make the movie without Kekich and Peterson both answering the question everyone wants answered — Why did you swap wives? — they may be out of luck.
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