Bob Uecker (born January 26, 1935) is an American former Major League Baseball player, later an award-winning sportscaster, comedian and actor. Uecker jokingly identifies himself by the sobriquet of "Mr. Baseball".
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Uecker grew up watching the minor-league Milwaukee Brewers at Borchert Field. He signed a professional contract with his hometown Milwaukee Braves in 1956. He made his major league debut as a catcher with the Braves in 1962. A mediocre hitter who finished with a career batting average of .200, Uecker also played for the St. Louis Cardinals (and was a member of the 1964 World Champion club) and Philadelphia Phillies before returning to the Braves, who had by then moved to Atlanta. He closed his 6-year major league career in 1967.
After retiring as a player, Uecker returned to Milwaukee. In 1970, he began calling play-by-play for Milwaukee Brewers radio broadcasts, a position he holds to this day, as of 2006. He also served as a color commentator on network television broadcasts in the 1970s (for ABC's Monday Night Baseball) and 1990s (for NBC). During that time, he was a commentator for League Championship Series and the World Series.
Known for his humor, particularly about his undistinguished playing career, Uecker actually became much better known after he retired from playing. He had the most guest appearances of anybody on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, and appeared in a number of humorous commercials, most notably for Miller Lite beer, as one of the "Miller Lite All-Stars."
Uecker published two books, an autobiography entitled Catcher in the Wry (ISBN 0515090298), and Catch 222 (ISBN 0399137440).
Uecker also pursued an acting career, and played the part of George Owens during the successful five-year run of the television sitcom Mr. Belvedere in the 1980s. Uecker played a prominent role in the movie Major League as Harry Doyle, the announcer for the team the movie is based on, the Cleveland Indians. A very popular and funny phrase is often quoted from this movie; "Just a bit outside..." on a pitch that is several feet outside the strike zone.
His sports expertise extends beyond baseball. In 1987, Uecker appeared as a ringside annuoncer at WrestleMania III in Pontiac, Michigan, followed by a return in 1988 at WrestleMania IV. He also hosted two syndicated television shows, "Bob Uecker's Wacky World of Sports" and "Bob Uecker's War of the Stars."
Uecker appeared in a series of commercials for the Milwaukee Admirals in the mid-1990s, including one in which he re-designed the team's uniforms to feature a garish plaid reminiscent of the loud sportcoats synonymous with Uecker in the 1970s and 1980s. On February 17th & 18th, 2006, the Admirals remembered those commercials with a special event in which the players wore the plaid jerseys during a game. The jerseys were then auctioned off to benefit charity.
Uecker was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2003, he received the Ford C. Frick Award, bestowed annually by the Baseball Hall of Fame to a broadcaster for "major contributions to baseball." His humorous and self-deprecating speech was a highlight of the ceremony.
In 2005, Uecker's 50th year in major baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers placed a number 50 in his honor in their "Ring of Honor" near the retired numbers of Robin Yount and Paul Molitor.