Traditionally, players don’t consider broadcasters to be a part of the team, no matter how cordial the relationship. But Bob Uecker is a bit of a different story.
Uecker is a broadcasting legend, of course, but he also had a six-year major league career in the 1960s, and those factors (along with plenty of others) have led to Uecker being treated more as a part of the team than apart from the team. But it’s more than just being invited in for a champagne shower after clinching the NL Central, though they did that too.
— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) September 27, 2018
The players voted to give Uecker a full playoff share, as reported by Tom Haudricort in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
When deciding who would get full playoff shares after the Brewers advanced within one game of the World Series, the players voted to give one to Uecker, which was worth $123,000. Giving a full share to a team broadcaster, even a Hall of Famer, is basically unheard-of in baseball but showed once again that “Ueck” is considered one of the boys.
“To include me in that, I couldn’t believe it,” said Uecker, 85, who became emotional when team director of travel Dan Larrea called him with the news. “I said, ‘I don’t believe it. Really?’ I’ve tried to make sure I thanked every one of them.”
A well-deserved honor for Uecker, who is one of the last remaining great broadcast voices. As for the money, Uecker gave it all to charity:
In true Uecker fashion, he never thought of pocketing even a dime of the money. Instead, he divided it among some of his favorite charities – the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of Milwaukee, Wounded Warriors and the Froedtert Cancer Center.
It wasn’t the monetary amount that made Uecker so proud of his ball club. It was the symbolic gesture that the players considered him a vital part of their success, deserving of the same payout the players received.
“I would never keep the money, but I sure appreciated what they did,” Uecker said. “I’m proud of that. When I talked to them about it, they said, ‘Ueck, that was no big deal. You were part of that.’ Still, I was shocked when they did it.”
His inning of work on Fox last year during a Milwaukee playoff game was one of the cooler moments of the entire MLB postseason, too. It’s nice to see that he’s appreciated by everyone in Milwaukee, especially the players themselves.