The Milwaukee Brewers put on a ceremony at Miller Park on Friday afternoon to unveil a statue of legendary broadcaster Bob Uecker, and the event sounded like a lot of fun. Bob Costas emceed. Doc Severinsen of Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show" played with his band. Bud Selig attended, as did former teammate Hank Aaron and his wife, Billye Aaron, who sang "Over the Rainbow" at Uecker's request. Even Uecker's TV wife from "Mr. Belvedere" — Ilene Graff — paid her respects in person.
Uecker himself, who also played in Milwaukee with the Braves, had most of the best lines. Some of them included:
Why he never left Milwaukee: "I don't know. It was a parole thing."
On hitting two homers against Sandy Koufax: "I apologize to him every time I see him."
On the sculptor showing him the pool of molten bronze used for the statue: "I said, 'What do you want me to do?' He said, 'I want you to get in there.'"
As for the statue itself, it's juuuuuust a bit ... understated. His hands are in his pockets. He's wearing a sweater, not a colorful sport coat like the ones he might wear in a Miller Lite commercial. He wears no radio headset like when he's calling games. He's not in a baseball uniform (which actually makes a lot of sense — just insert a Uecker joke here). He's just kind of standing there, which is what statues often do, of course. There's just not a lot going on. It doesn't have a lot of life.
Actually, it looks like a statue of Bob Uecker watching a statue unveiling, as Greg Wissinger said on Twitter.
It's a similar product to the Bug Selig statue, another of four bronze art works at Miller Park, all created by Brian Maughan and Douglas Kwart. They also include an Aaron statue and one for Robin Yount. Bud Selig just standing there is an agreeable image. And it's true that Uecker's broadcasts are not clones of his over-the-top acting performances in the "Major League" movies, or even the schtick he'd do with Carson, or for interviews. Uecker the real broadcaster is understated by comparison, and I think that's partly where the sculptors were going. But he's still funny. He's still Mr. Baseball. His statue is closer to an echo of an echo.
Our memories of Uecker are more important than a statue, anyway. But it would be nice if art imitated life juuuuuuuust a little bit more in this case. Do the artists have any molten bronze left over?
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