|UECK GIVES BATTING LEFTY A SHOT.|
|HIT .275 IN SEVEN MINOR-LEAGUE SEASONS.|
THE FRONT PAGE
- For a scrub second-string catcher who owns a lifetime .200 batting average, ''Mr. Baseball'' Bob Uecker has done pretty well for himself. After that undistinguished six-year career, Ueck became an excellent radio and television broadcaster who never missed a moment to poke fun at himself but never at the expense of calling the action professionally. His wry humor, Miller Lite commercials and movie role as the Indians' inappropriate play-by-play man Harry Doyle in the Major League trilogy have made him an iconic ambassador to the game. The mere mention of his name should ellict a smile.
THE BACK PAGE
- I wish Topps would've noted what some of those "funny-man antics'' were.
- You have to chuckle over him getting a full share of the World Series winnings despite not playing an inning because you know he was chuckling when he read this card.
- Wonderful shot of Mr. Baseball, a nickname Johnny Carson gave him from his numerous home run appearances on The Tonight Show.
- Speaking of homers, on July 24, 1965, Uecker enjoyed his career moment when he hit a two-out solo shot off Sandy Koufax. The Cards would go on to defeat the Dodgers 3-2. Uecker cracked he was certain the dinger killed Koufax's Cooperstown chances.
- While that homer was one of only 14 he hit in his career, it wasn't the only time he took a Hall of Famer's dignity with the long ball. In May 1965, he embarrassed Gaylord Perry; in '66 he humiliated Fergie Jenkins; after '67, he was out of baseball.
- While he was a pretty good defensive catcher, he had a rough final season behind the plate. He had an incredible 25 passed balls with the Braves, in part because he caught knuckleballer Phil Niekro. Never missing a chance to offer a little wisdom, Uecker said the best way to catch a knuckler was to wait for it to stop rolling before picking it up.
- Ended his career with a WAR of negative 1.1.
- Began his broadcasting career in '71, four years after he retired, calling Brewers' radio broadcasts, which he still does today.
- Because of MLB's At-Bat app, I've had the chance the past couple seasons to listen to some Brewers games. Ueck is as good as advertised, witty without trying to hijack the broadcast into his personal lounge act.
- In the '70s and '80s, Uecker did some color commentary on national TV games, including the playoffs.
- Did some Wrestlemania announcing in the '80s, highlighted by getting ''choked'' by Andre The Giant.
- While never making an All-Star team, he was named a Miller Lite All-Star. "I must be in the front row'' was one of the most popular lines from that series of commercials featuring former pro athletes and entertainment icons who had the ongoing ''Tastes Great, Less Filling'' debate.
- Underwent two successful heart surgeries in '10, proving while he didn't hit like a champion, he has the heart of a champion.
- In '03, received the Ford Frick Award and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster's wing. Among the many priceless deadpan one-liners from his induction speech was this: "I still, and this is not sour grapes by any means, think I should have gone in as a player.''
- His part in the first Major League was a scream. He owned the part of Doyle, a whiskey-swilling wise-ass announcer for the woe-begotten Indians. He should've gotten an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, but baseball movies are never taken seriously in Hollywood, just as Uecker was never taken seriously as a player.
- Last August became the third former Brewers player to have a statue outside Miller Park, joining Hank Aaron and Robin Yount.
- Couldn't find the famous "Front Row'' commercial, but these three are classics. Note the first one with Ron Cey and the card he's holding. I think it's an original '75 Topps; the one at the end, along with Uecker's, are mock-ups.