Entering his 48th season as a broadcaster for his hometown team, calling games on 620 WTMJ and the Brewers Radio Network, Bob Uecker celebrates his 63rd year in baseball.
Uecker earned the prestigious Ford C. Frick Award in 2003 and will forever be recognized in Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. On July 27, 2003, he made one of the most memorable speeches in Hall of Fame history as he left his audience, including former President George H.W. Bush, in tears from laughter.
Also in 2003, Uecker became a member of the Brewers Walk of Fame, which is located near home plate outside Miller Park. In 2012, he was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
On August 31, 2012, Uecker was given a very special honor as a statue bearing his likeness was dedicated outside Miller Park. The ceremony was attended by celebrities, current and former players, family and friends. Uecker's statue joined those previously dedicated to fellow Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Robin Yount and Commissioner Emeritus Allan H. "Bud" Selig.
On April 25, 2014, a second statue was dedicated in Uecker's honor, this one in the last row of the "Uecker Seats" on Miller Park's Terrace Level. The statue commemorates Uecker's Miller Lite commercials in which he famously delivered the often repeated line, "I must be in the front row!" The statue allows fans a special photo opportunity. Also in 2014, Uecker was commissioned into the Brewers Wall of Honor inaugural class.
Known across the country as "Mr. Baseball," Uecker is highly respected in the industry. In 2001, he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, where he joined such baseball broadcasting luminaries as Vin Scully, Mel Allen, Red Barber, Ernie Harwell and Jack Brickhouse, as well as other American icons such as Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Edward R. Murrow and Orson Welles. In 2011, he was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.
Uecker has been named Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year five times during his career and was inducted into the Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. Also, for his efforts, he was inducted into the Wisconsin Performing Artists Hall of Fame in 1993, which was established in 1983 to honor nationally and internationally known performing artists with Wisconsin ties. In 1994, Uecker was elected to the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. In January 1995, he earned the Big B.A.T. Award from the Baseball Assistance Team at a dinner in New York City for his continuing support of former Major League stars who are in need of assistance.
Uecker's big break can be traced to a 1969 visit with Al Hirt, a renowned jazz trumpeter from New Orleans. Hirt opened a small nightclub in Atlanta and asked Uecker to come on stage. Hirt was so impressed that he arranged an appearance for Uecker on The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson. Uecker became one of Carson's favorite guests, making 100+ appearances before Carson retired in 1992. He also made appearances on The Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin Shows, Late Night with David Letterman and as guest host on Saturday Night Live.
Uecker became a national celebrity, and the ABC Network took advantage of his popularity. He made appearances on The Superstars and The Midnight Special, which opened the door for more high-profile appearances.
A versatile talent, Uecker's credits go far beyond guest appearances and play-by-play. In 1985, he launched a television acting career as one of the stars of ABC's sitcom Mr. Belvedere, which put 122 episodes into syndication. He also hosted two syndicated television shows, Bob Uecker's Wacky World of Sports and Bob Uecker's War of the Stars.
Uecker was one of the Miller Lite All-Stars in popular commercials for the beer during the 1980s. He was also cast as a radio announcer in the movie Major League, which was filmed at County Stadium, and Major League II. Uecker even made appearances on the pro wrestling circuit, serving as a host at WrestleMania III and WrestleMania IV, earning him a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010.
Uecker's experience broadcasting Brewers games both on radio and television gained him national recognition as he went on to serve as color commentator for ABC Sports coverage of Monday Night Baseball, the League Championship Series and World Series.
Uecker's accomplishments are not limited to the electronic medium. He authored a book entitled Catcher in the Wry, a humorous look back on the years he spent as a catcher with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies during six seasons in the Major Leagues. One of his career highlights as a player came in 1964, when he was a member of the world champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Despite his national attention and success, Uecker never forgot his roots. In 2015, he was honored with the Lombardi Foundation's Award of Excellence for his role in helping raise funds and awareness for cancer research. His philanthropic efforts have also benefitted several local organizations, including the United Performing Arts Fund, the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
In addition, Uecker is an advocate for organizations that battle cystic fibrosis and heart disease, and is involved with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.