“I make fun of situations and try to find the humor in things, but it’s never at the expense of the other guy.”
Bob Uecker played professional baseball for 12 years and accumulated Major League time with the Milwaukee Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. Uecker never played on a regular basis in the Major Leagues and his lifetime batting average was .200 Uecker was the back-up catcher for the 1964 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Bob Uecker achieved fame and fortune in his post-playing days in a variety of roles. He has been a baseball broadcaster, actor, comedian and he also did several commercials, most notably for Miller Lite. In 2003, Bob Uecker was inducted into the Broadcasters Wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The first time I met Bob Uecker was at County Stadium in Milwaukee, in 1981, before a Brewers game that he was broadcasting. I introduced myself, and he asked me a question, “Do you know about the new school I am opening?” “No,” I replied. “I have not heard about it.” “it’s a passed ball” school for catchers,” he said, with a straight face. I roared with laughter, and he immediately had won me over.
Uecker first achieved National attention from his appearances on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. It was Carson who dubbed him, “Mr. Baseball” Uecker’s Miller Lite commercials were a “big hit” He starred in the TV sitcom Mr. Belvedere. I thought he was fantastic in the movie, “Major League”, playing broadcaster Harry Doyle. He did all of those things, and more, while he continued to broadcast Milwaukee Brewers games. And he still broadcasts their games!
One of Uecker’s great traits is his self deprecating humor. In 1967, despite playing only 59 games with the Braves, Bob Uecker led the National League in “passed balls.” That was because he had his share of challenges catching Phil Niekro’s knuckleball.
All kidding aside, Niekro credits Uecker for constantly encouraging him to throw the knuckleball so Phil could perfect it. So, in addition to all of his many well deserved accolades, let’s remember the role Bob Uecker played in the development of Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Neikro.