Today (1-26-16) Milwaukee’s very own favorite son turns 82! Ask anyone who Bob Uecker is and they’ll probably respond “Mr. Baseball,” the voice of the Brewers, or maybe parrot one of his famous quotes back to you. “Juuuust a bit outside,” or “I must be in the front row.”
Uke (affectionately short for Uecker) is definitely in the twilight of his career and what he has done with his career should be the gold standard for everyone. Uecker only spent 6 years in the Major Leagues (hell, I would settle for just one day on a major league ball field). He was able to turn those six very mediocre seasons into a very successful career. Basically turning the proverbial “lemons into lemonade.” How many players that spent less than 10 years in the league as primarily a back up, are still relevant today?
In those 6 years with 4 teams (Milwaukee Braves, St.Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves) he batted batted .200 in his 297 career games. He does own a World Series ring that he got for the season he spent backing up Tim McCarver for St. Louis in 1964. Bob belted 14 round trippers in his career, but, the one you hear the most about is the one he is able to self deprecate the most… the one off of Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax.
After his playing days, Bob used his wit and dry sense of humor to win over Johnny Carson and make numerous appearances on the Tonight Show where he was given the nick name “Mr. Baseball.”
He parlayed that into two sports related shows, being a beer spokesman where as a “Miller Lite All-Star” he coined the phrase “I must be in the front row.” Hollywood came calling and turned him into George Owen on the Mr. Belvedere Sit-Com, the WWE made him a ring announcer for a couple Wrestlemania events and put him in their Hall of Fame. Hollywood knocked on his door again and Harry Doyle the announcer for the Cleveland Indians the in the movie series “Major League” was born and where “Juuust a bit outside” came from.
He is in Cooperstown for his work behind the mic, received the Ford Frick Award for his contributions to baseball, his name is retired on the facade at Miller Park , he has his own section of seats, and two statues in his honor, also at Miller Park. During it all, the Milwaukee native has been the voice of the our Milwaukee Brewers since 1971.
Not bad for a career .200 hitter with a six years in the majors, and games appeared in just a tick or two above the number of games in an entire season.
Happy Birthday Bob and many more! You’re one of a kind, and we are glad that you are ours!…Thank You!
(photos courtesy of: clevescene, flickr, onmilwaukee, scrippsmedia, jsonline mlb.nbcsports)