Let’s Shine the Spotlight on “Mr. Baseball”: Bob Uecker!

Let’s Shine the Spotlight on “Mr. Baseball”: Bob Uecker!

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Another Edition of: Baseball’s Flacks and Eccentric Personalities!

 Let’s Shine the Spotlight on “Mr. Baseball”: Bob Uecker!

Bob Uecker may very well be the funniest man to ever laced up cleats.  He’s one of those guys that no matter what he says, it just cracks you up. So let’s pay tribute to “Uke” with a few of his funniest quips and one-liners. Even if you‘ve heard some of them before, they’re still funny!

 “I remember I signed with the Milwaukee Braves for a $3000 bonus. That bothered my dad at the time. We were a poor family. He didn’t know where he was going to come up with that kind of dough!”

“They said I was such a great prospect that they were sending me to winter ball to sharpen up. When I got off the plane I was in Greenland!”

“In 1963 I was named the Minor League Player of the Year. The only problem is that it was my second years in the Bigs.”

“My highest hit total was 43 in 1966. I had slumps that lasted into the winter.”

Commenting on his three top career highlights: “Let’s see, I once got an intentional walk from Sandy Koufax. And once I got out of a rundown against the Mets. In a preseason intra-squad game in 1967, I walked with the bases loaded to drive in the winning run.”

The above quote notwithstanding: “I once hit a home run off Koufax. I always thought that home run might keep Sandy from getting into the Hall of Fame!”

“I didn’t receive a lot of awards as a player, but once they had a “Bob Uecker Day Off” in Philly.”

“Once I looked at the third base coach for a signal and he turned his back on me.”

“Sporting goods companies would pay me not to endorse their products.” 

“I’m batting against the Dodgers in Milwaukee. They led 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two out, and the pitcher had a full count on me. I looked over at the Dodgers’ dugout and they were all in street clothes.”

Speaking about Ted Williams: “We had similar styles in that we both used a bat. I was more of a choke hitter. I choked every time I was up there.”

Uecker was the backup catcher for Joe Torre with the Braves. Once when Torre was hurt and went on the disabled list, Uecker commented: “Joe’s injury almost cost me my career…they had to play me!”

Oh, by the way, in case you’re interested, here’s Uke’s unimpressive career stats: The 6’1”, 190 pound catcher played six seasons in the majors (1962-’67) for the Milwaukee Braves (1962-’63), St. Louis Cardinals (1964-’65), Philadelphia Phillies (1966-’67), and Atlanta Braves (1967). Uke hit .200 with 14 home runs, and 74 RBIs. He was a member of the 1964 World Series Champion Cardinals, although he did not play in the World Series. He’s been the play-by-play announcer for the Braves since 1971. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame (Frick Award Recipient) in 2003.

And then there’s the classic Miller Lite commercial from the early 1990’s, possibly the funniest commercial ever made. It included such memorable lines like “Bingoo,” “Front Roow!” and gave birth to the phrase: “The Uecker seats.” I included a link to the commercial, so do yourself a favor and watch it.

Here’s a few nice words about Uke from the book, “Baseball Eccentrics”:

“Lest you think that Uecker is little more than Rodney Dangerfield in cleats, think again. The reference to Uecker as “Mr. Baseball” is intended to be ironic, but he actually does represent baseball’s Everyman. Here is a ballplayer whom we can identify with. Few of us can imagine being Ted Williams or Alex Rodriguez or Manny Ramirez, but we can all imagine being Bob Uecker. The fact is that Uecker, despite all his self-deprecating talk, was good enough to be a major leaguer, something that 99.99 percent of us will never be. “

-Gary Livacari

 

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the Bob Uecker Wikipedia page, and the book “Baseball’s Eccentrics,” by Bill Lee.

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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