(Photo: Uecker chills in the shade as J.J. Hardy plays ping pong)
A former player, a comedian, an actor, perhaps the most influential and significant play-by-play radio announcer of his generation, Robert George ‘Bob’ Uecker will be honored with a statue Friday afternoon outside Miller Park. Known as ‘Mr. Baseball’, a fitting title given to him by Johnny Carson, Uecker will attend an event on the Miller Park plaza that will be hosted by Bob Costas. Universally beloved by all Brewers and baseball fans alike, Uecker is known for his self-deprecating humor and irreverent wit but also his vast knowledge of the game and thoughtful, often existential commentary.
For Brewers fans, Uecker is ingrained in the very fabric and essence of baseball itself. His signature home run call of ‘Get up! Get up! Get outta here! Gone!’ is a classic that will live forever and has been a wonderful part of some great Brewers memories. The versatile Uecker is the rare announcer who is enjoyable to watch as he goofs around on some old sports video (see him on YouTube), or one can listen to his stuff like a comedy album, because he’s that delightful and funny. His appearances as Harry Doyle in the Major League films are legendary and are still quoted constantly (in fact, Uecker was the only good thing the second film had going for it). Even Mr. Belvedere was a decent show. He’s done countless commercials over the years as well, many of which have been hilarious.
Uecker was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2001 and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 2011. He received the Ford C. Frick Award in 2003. Uecker has been the perfect announcer for the Brewers because he’s a hometown guy and his humor has not only fit the city and state in which the team plays, but it has also provided a nice release and occasional distraction from some pretty bad Brewers teams over the years. Uecker is humble and deferential when it comes to the statue and the big deal being made about its dedication. But he also sounds happy at the same time. The statue is a well-deserved honor for Uecker and it only further cements his rightful place in Brewers and baseball history.