Bob Uecker (born January 26, 1935) is an American former Major League Baseball player, later a sportscaster, comedian and actor. Uecker was given the title of "Mr. Baseball" by Johnny Carson.
Though he sometimes joked he was born on a colored oleo run to Illinois, Uecker was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He grew up 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. A mediocre hitter, he finished with a career batting average of .200. He was a sound defensive player and committed very few errors in his Major League career as a catcher, completing his career with a fielding percentage of .981. 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. His six-year major league career concluded in 1967.
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 also served as one of the first color commentators on network television]broadcasts in the 1970s (for ABC's Monday Night Baseball) and 1990s (for NBC as he teamed with Bob Costas and Joe Morgan for telecasts). During that time, he was a commentator for League Championship Series and the World Series.
Uecker now works as the Milwaukee Brewers' play-by-play announcer. Games are broadcast on the Brewers Radio Network throughout Wisconsin. The flagship is WTMJ 620 Milwaukee.
Known for his humor, particularly about his undistinguished playing career, Uecker actually became much better known after he retired from playing. He made 64 guest appearances 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 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. A phrase from this movie, "Juuuust a bit outside...", referring to a pitch that is several feet outside the strike zone, began appearing in some DirecTV ads in the spring of 2007. This same phrase was a well known pop cultural buzz phrase throughout the 90s.
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 professional baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers placed a number 50 in his honor in the 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 Braves Wall of Honor inside Miller Park.