In this week’s Sports Illustrated, senior writer Luke Winn (@LukeWinn) takes a trip inside the beautiful mind of the Milwaukee Brewers’ first fan: Bob Uecker. From his playing days as a back-up catcher to what he is most known for – announcing games for the Brewers – Winn tells the story of a Milwaukee legend who still has plenty to say.
Playing baseball and being a full-time announcer hasn’t been the only gig for Uecker. His one-of-a-kind comedic tendencies have landed him appearances on TV shows and most famously playing the role of Harry Doyle, the ill-mannered announcer from the Major League movies.
Winn finds that he is not as extreme as Doyle in real life – although his colleagues have shared stories of Uecker’s “cough-button stories,” (PAGE 52).
“There’s a lot of Uke in Harry Doyle, but that’s clearly a character… is he this crass drunk like Harry Doyle? Not from what I’ve seen,” says Joe Block, Uecker’s current broadcast partner. (PAGE 52).
He may not be crude, but he is entertaining. Winn describes Uecker’s way of calling games as getting a “golden-age baseball call with a few dollops of nonsense” (PAGE 53). According to Winn, those dollops of nonsense include anything from using sunscreen as a condiment to a fictitious story about a company that owns a warehouse near Petco Park that Uecker intertwines with his play-by-play.
Ad copy is another avenue for Uecker’s creativity and comical nature to shine through. “’Enjoy Mt. Olympus in Wisconsin Dells,’ he said plugging a water park during a Brewers losing streak. ‘That’s where I’m going – to jump off’” (PAGE 52).
The witty announcer’s age is also a topic of conversation. With various health issues and surgeries in the past, Uecker jokingly declares to Winn that he “changes his diaper” (PAGE 53) to kill time between innings.
With his name located in the Miller Park Walk of Fame and a statue of himself outside of the ballpark, it is clear Uecker is a big part of Milwaukee. Despite all of his accolades, Winn writes that Uecker is “still a player at heart” (PAGE 55) who has the ability to captivate audiences and act as the connector between the Brewers and their fans.