Milwaukee Brewers Honor Bob Uecker and Fans with Statue
If the place where you work is honoring you with a statue, it's probably a safe bet that you've done your job very well.
Bob Uecker has done his job as the Milwaukee Brewers' radio play-by-play man extremely well. His work as a broadcaster has earned him an induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
So it was probably time for the Brewers to get around to giving Uecker some high honors. Accordingly, the team will be giving its voice just about the highest honor it can grant.
Uecker will be commemorated with a bronze statue outside Miller Park in a ceremony to be held on Aug. 31. As the New York Times' Tyler Kepner joked, the statue will be "juuuuuust a bit outside" the ballpark. I would've guessed Uecker would be in the front row. Or at least up in the "Uecker seats."
The Brewers had already added Uecker to their Ring of Honor, as well as the Braves Wall of Honor inside Miller Park. But a guy nicknamed "Mr. Baseball" (even if it was tongue-in-cheek) deserved just a little more honor, joining the statues of Hank Aaron, Robin Yount and Bud Selig in Miller Park's Home Plate Plaza.
Even more than players and managers, no one associated with a Major League Baseball team becomes closer to its community than a long-time broadcaster. Younger Brewers fans may not share memories with older fans of Gorman Thomas, Rollie Fingers or Paul Molitor playing in Milwaukee, but most of them can likely associate with Uecker calling games on the radio.
With radio, you can take the game with you. You can listen to it in the car. You can take it with you on a camping trip. You can keep up on the team when doing your homework, after your parents have told you to turn off the TV. For so many fans, the man talking on the radio becomes the voice of the team.
As a Detroit Tigers fan, I can certainly attest to that. Ernie Harwell is a revered figure. A banner with a photo of him calling a game hangs over Comerica Park's front entrance. A statue of Harwell greets you as you enter the ballpark. The press box is named after him.
And even that wasn't necessarily enough for those who loved him. After Harwell died in 2010, many fans thought the Tigers should name the field after him. This was for a man who never played for the team, never coached it, never worked in its front office. That's how much a broadcaster can mean to a community of fans.
The bronze statue—which will depict Uecker with hands in pockets, as if he's standing outside the batting cage—is a tremendous honor for the man, but it's also a celebration of Brewers fans, to whom Uecker means so much. Every fanbase should be so lucky to share such joy and memories.
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