Entering his 44th year behind the mic as a Major League Baseball broadcaster for his hometown team calling play-by-play on Newsradio 620 WTMJ and the Brewers Radio Network, Bob Uecker will celebrate his 59th year in professional baseball in 2014.
Affectionately known across the country as "Mr. Baseball," Uecker earned the 2003 Ford C. Frick Award 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 induction history as he left his audience, including former President George H. Bush, in tears from laughter.
In 2003, Uecker also joined former Brewers general manager, Harry Dalton, as a member of the Brewers Walk of Fame, located near home plate outside of Miller Park. He and Dalton joined Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers, Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Jim Gantner, Gorman Thomas and Cecil Cooper in receiving this special honor.
Uecker is highly respected in the industry, having been inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2001, 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. He 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.
His big break can be traced to a 1969 visit with Al Hirt, who arranged an appearance for Uecker on the "Tonight Show," starring Johnny Carson. Uecker became one of Carson's favorite guests, making some 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 a guest host on Saturday Night Live.
A versatile talent, Uecker's credits go far beyond guest appearances and play-by-play. In 1985, Uecker 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." He was one of the Miller Lite All-Stars in popular commercials for Lite Beer from Miller. Uecker was cast as a radio announcer in the film "Major League," which was filmed at County Stadium, and the sequel, "Major League II."
His experience broadcasting Brewers games both on radio and television gained Uecker national recognition as he went on to serve as play-by-play announcer for ABC Sports coverage of Monday Night Baseball, the League Championship Series and the World Series.
Uecker's accomplishments are not limited to the electronic medium. A former catcher who spent six seasons in the Major Leagues, Bob authored a book entitled "Catcher In the Wry," a humorous look back on the years he spent with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies. 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, Bob never forgot his roots. His philanthropic efforts benefit several local organizations, including the United Performing Arts Fund, the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Boys and 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. He also chairs the popular Bob Uecker Celebrity Fishing Tournament for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
For his efforts, Uecker was inducted into the Wisconsin Performing Artists Hall of Fame in 1993. The Hall of Fame was established in 1983 to honor nationally and internationally known performing artists with Wisconsin ties. In 1994, he 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.