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Bob Uecker is a retired Major League baseball player and one of the most beloved sportscasters in American. Uecker was given the title of "Mr. Baseball" by Johnny Carson.
Though he sometimes joked he was born on an oleo run to Illinois, Uecker was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He grew up playing baseball and watching the minor-league Milwaukee Brewers at Borchert Field. He signed a professional contract with his hometown Milwaukee Braves in 1956 and made his major league debut as a catcher with the club in 1962. His six-year career never flourished as he finished with a career batting average of .200, though he was regarded as a solid defensive catcher.
After retiring as a player, Uecker returned to Milwaukee. In 1971, he began calling play-by-play for the Milwaukee Brewers radio broadcasts, a position he holds to this day. He was also a color commentator on network television broadcasts for baseball in the 1970s (ABC's Monday Night Baseball) and in the 1990s (NBC as he teamed with Bob Costas and Joe Morgan). During that time, he was a commentator for League Championship series and the World Series.
Uecker has been named Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year five times by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. The National Baseball Hall of Fame presented Uecker with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting in 2003.
Known for his humor, particularly about his undistinguished playing career, Uecker became much better known after he retired from playing.
Uecker also pursued an acting career, playing the part of George Owens on the television sitcom Mr. Belvedere in the 1980s. He played a prominent role in Major League, Major League II, and Major League: Back to the Minors as Harry Doyle, the announcer for the team on which the movie is based, the Cleveland Indians. The well known phrase from this movie: "Juuuust a bit outside..."
In April, 2010, Bob Uecker announced that he was going to miss a portion of the 2010 baseball season because of heart surgery. After a successful surgery, he returned to broadcasting for the Brewers in July of the same season.
Uecker's sports expertise extends beyond baseball. He hosted two syndicated television shows, Bob Uecker's Wacky World of Sports and Bob Uecker's War of the Stars. Uecker also published two books, an autobiography entitled Catcher in the Wry and Catch 222.
Uecker also appeared in a series of commercials for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League in the mid-1990s, including one in which he re-designed the team's uniforms to feature a garish plaid reminiscent of the loud sports coats synonymous with Uecker in the 1970s and 1980s. In February 2006, the Admirals commemorated those commercials with a special event in which the players wore the plaid jerseys during a game.
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 professional 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. Four years later, on May 12, 2009, Uecker's name was also added to the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor inside Miller Park.