07/26/2003 7:38 PM ET
Uecker on Hall call: 'The tops'
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Bob Uecker is a man of many faces and Saturday he showed most of them to the media -- broadcaster, former player, actor and comedian.
Uecker, the long-time play-by-play man for the Milwaukee Brewers, was honored this year with the Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick award for broadcast excellence and will make his acceptance speech during Induction Ceremonies on Sunday at the Clark Sports Center.
"I hope I have fun tomorrow. I hope you all have fun tomorrow, too because I'm not going to be real serious. I can tell you that," Uecker said Saturday during a media conference at Cooperstown High School.
A preview of his upcoming remarks:
"I had a good time catching, being with the Cardinals in 1964. You know, we won the world championship and I played in a lot of games. I came up with some hits every once in awhile. I had a home run off (Sandy) Koufax that year which I'm going to apologize tomorrow for."
Uecker doesn't have to apologize to anyone for anything. He's the guy who appeared on the old Tonight Show multiple times with Johnny Carson. He was in the cast of Mr. Belvedere, a television sitcom that ran six seasons. He was the classic Harry Doyle, that crafty announcer for the Cleveland Indians in all three Major League movies.
"The first two were all right, but the last one stunk," said Uecker, who said he still is known as Harry Doyle outside of Milwaukee. "If people around certain parts of the country don't hear you, they don't know what you are. They think you are that guy in the movie. After I did the film and I went back to Cleveland, all those players called me Harry Doyle. They don't call me by my name anymore."
He was hired back in 1971 by then Brewers owner Bud Selig to liven up the team's radio broadcasts. Uecker is still there 33 years later.
Selig took Uecker out to dinner and surprised him by offering the job. It wasn't the only surprise of the evening from the current Commissioner, Uecker recalled.
"He didn't have any money," Uecker said. "I had to pick up the check. It was at the Stage Deli. I remember that."
Uecker said he's a storyteller, who never tires of working a baseball game. The Brewers have been to the World Series once in Uecker's tenure (1982), but he said he has no problem finding the positive notes in any game, even a bad one.
"I like making people laugh, and not at somebody's expense," he said. "I can think of a hundred situations to put myself in that people believe. I was that bad in some areas, and they think if I said it, it must be right. That's really what I love doing."
Around the country, he was the guy in the old Miller Lite commercials, who thought he was given seats for a ballgame "in the front row." He wound up in the back of the upper deck.
In Milwaukee, he's known for his signature home run call: "Get up, get up, get out of here."
But Uecker doesn't take credit for that one, noting that it was just something all the players used to say in the dugout when a ball was skied toward the outfield fence.
As far as the Frick award is concerned, in his career, Uecker called it, "The Tops."
"This is the pinnacle," he said. "I've been in Milwaukee for nearly 33 years. No one could have dreamed of something like this."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com