Uecker still speaks volumes

I have friends and acquaintances who are down on Bob Uecker, which is their right even if they're dead wrong about the Hall of Fame radio voice of the Brewers.

I have friends and acquaintances who are down on Bob Uecker, which is their right even if they're dead wrong about the Hall of Fame radio voice of the Brewers.

He's lost his fastball, they say.

Funny, I never thought he threw hard to begin with.

He's become smarmy in his old age.

His delivery can sound, at times, sarcastic, irreverent and maybe a little impatient -- all of which are OK by me -- but smarmy? Uh-uh.


He's going through the motions.

No, he's moving down the play-by-play road in the same smooth, deliberate gear he used when Robin, Paulie, Gorman, Gumby, Rollie and Vuke were doing their thing at old County Stadium. Meanwhile, a growing number of listeners have become accustomed to having their engines revved by boo-yahs, rants and sophomoric shticks.

His analysis is a black hole for scoring updates.

OK, but be advised there's no play-by-play voice on the planet who pleases everyone when it comes to giving the score.

Bob Uecker, at 74, is as entertaining, relevant and insightful now as he was when he was the only sane reason to invest in Brewers games.

You remember those days, don't you?

Consecutive losing seasons from 1993 to 2006.

All the bad pitching, base running and strategy.


All the laughable drafts and transactions.

Sal Bando.

Davey Lopes.

Baseball in Milwaukee is fun again. Fans flock to beautiful Miller Park to see a well-run club with exceptional young talent contend for the National League playoffs.

But while so much has changed with the Brewers -- divisions, leagues, managers, players and owners -- Uecker has endured. No offense to the current decision-makers or players, but as far as I'm concerned, Uecker will sit atop that marquee until he calls his last game.

I can't believe I have to come here to defend Uecker, but circumstances demand it. It's not just the sniping from the peanut gallery, either.

Five months ago, the American Sportscasters Association published its list of the top 50 voices in history, spanning all the major sports. Uecker wasn't on it, but Chris Berman (No. 31), Bill Walton (No. 41) and Dick Vitale (No. 47) were.

Breathalyzers, drug tests and embarrassed expressions for all involved with that ridiculous outcome.


When legendary Phillies announcer Harry Kalas (No. 41 on the list) died earlier this year, I listened as ESPN personalities waxed sentimental about the dwindling number of great old-time radio voices in baseball.

They genuflected in front of Los Angeles Dodgers icon Vin Scully -- No. 1 on the ASA Top 50 and deservedly so -- and mentioned Ernie Harwell, the retired former announcer for the Detroit Tigers.

But zero mention of Uecker despite his peerless wit, his spot-on analysis and brilliant home run call.

What does a guy have to do to get some respect around here?

Uecker's national profile has diminished a bit since his days on Johnny Carson, hawking Miller Lite and acting on the TV sitcom "Mr. Belvedere." Many of his listeners are too young to connect those dots, anyway.

But more than five decades into his baseball career, Uecker is still in our midst, still on top of his game.

That's our good fortune.

-- Copyright (c) 2009, The Wisconsin State Journal/Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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