Robert George “Bob” Uecker was born on January, 26, 1935 and made a name for himself as a Major League Baseball player and then moved on to become one of the most well known sportscaster, actor, and comedian. He was even given the title of “Mr. Baseball” by the one and only Johnny Carson. Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Uecker grew up watching the Brewers play at Borchert Field. He played baseball as a child and worked his way up to his first professional contract with the Milwaukee Braves in 1956. He made his debut as a catcher in 1962 and even though he wasn’t a great hitter, he was a sound defensive player and only had a very small number of errors in his Major League career as a catcher. He completed his career with a decent fielding percentage and even though he had only played 59 games, in 1967 he led the league with passed balls and still holds a position on the top ten list for more passed balls in a season.
After playing with the Milwaukee Braves from 1962 to 1963, he went on to play with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1964 to 1965 and the Philadelphia Phillies from 1966 to 1967, even taking a spot on the 1964 World Champion club. When he finished playing with the Phillies, he returned to the Braves after they had moved to Atlanta. This is the team that he ended his professional career with in 1967. When he retired from playing baseball, he headed back to Milwaukee.
In 1971, he began to call play-by-play for the Brewers radio broadcasts and continues to hold this position even today at age 75. It wasn’t long before his comedic way of looking at things and his enthusiasm for the game itself landed him as a color commentator on network television broadcasts for baseball throughout the 1970’s for ABC’s Monday Night Baseball and then again in the 1990’s for NBA where he was teamed up with Bob Costas and Joe Morgan. He also was a commentator for the World Series as well as League Championship Series.
He was so loved by fans all over the U.S. and had become so dear to people throughout the baseball communities that he was named Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year five different times by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He also was inducted into the Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and then the National Baseball Hall of Fame gave him the Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasting in 2003. During his 50th year in professional baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers placed a number 50 in their “Ring Of Honor” in his honor, close to the retired numbers for two other players, Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. Four years after this, in 2009, Uecker was also added to the Braves Wall of Honor inside Miller Park in Atlanta.
Of course, his humor and talented voice made him a prime candidate for both acting and comedy. In the 1980’s he played on the sitcom “Mr. Belvedere” as George Owens and then landed major parts in “Major League”, “Major League II”, and “Major League: Back To The Minors” as “Harry Doyle” the announcer for the team that the movies are based upon, the Cleveland Indians. One of Bob Uecker’s most famous quotes from these movies, “Juuuuuust a bit outside….” (referring to a pitch that was several feet outside the strike zone), began to show up in some DirecTV ads in 2007.
Many people may not know that outside of baseball, he also hosted two different TV shows, “Bob Uecker’s Wacky World of Sports” and “Bob Uecker’s War of the Stars”. The first became known as “The Lighter Side of Sports” even though it now has a different host and is one of the longest running sports shows in American TV history still today. He also did several commercials for the Milwaukee Admirals for the American Hockey League in the 1990’s. The most popular one of these featured Uecker re-designing the team’s uniforms into plaid sports coats like he was famous for in the 70’s and 80’s. In fact, in 2006, the Admirals paid homage to those commercials by designing plaid jerseys that they wore during a game and then auctioned them off to benefit charity. 메이저리그중계