Uecker statue unveiled at Miller Park — in last row, in front of pole
MILWAUKEE — With quite a bit of comedy, the Milwaukee Brewers delivered a fitting tribute to Bob Uecker on Friday, unveiling a statue of the Hall of Fame broadcaster at Miller Park.
Unlike the statue of Uecker that already stands outside of the ballpark, this one is in a unique location — the very last row of the ballpark behind a pole.
Playing off the 1980s Miller Lite commercial, Uecker’s statue sits in the last row of section 422 in the terrace level.
Uecker’s tagline of "I must be in the front row!" has been famous since the commercial aired.
Sitting at the ballpark, Uecker is told he is in the wrong seats by an usher. He then utters those iconic words, only to learn he’s actually supposed to be sitting in the last row of the stadium.
There is an empty seat next to the statue which will allow fans a chance to take a picture next to Uecker for a monetary donation to the Brewers Community Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
"It’s going to be a fun thing for fans and a way to generate money for Brewers charities and mine, the Make-A-Wish Foundation," Uecker said Friday. "The fans will be able to go up there and sit next to me, maybe a lap dance."
Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Rollie Fingers were in attendance for the ceremony, as were former Brewers Jerry Augustine, Bill Schroeder, Ken Sanders, Jim Gantner and Gorman Thomas. Ryan Braun, Will Smith and Tyler Thornburg were the current Brewers in the crowd, while manager Ron Roenicke and his staff were on hand.
"I don’t think there was a man in the world that could have done it better than you," Fingers said. "I’ve listened to great announcers and I have no problem whatsoever dropping your name amongst these gentlemen."
Movie critic Gino Salomone put together a recorded video of celebrities Ty Burrell, Jason Bateman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Don Rickels passing along congratulations to Uecker.
Even though the statue is at the top of Miller Park, the ceremony was held on the field, causing Yount to crack a joke at Uecker.
"God, this is unbelievable," Yount said. "Fifty thousand empty seats. What a ceremony."
Yount went on to tell a story of when the Brewers were in Detroit during his playing days. After a day game, a group of players went to dinner with Uecker.
"Ueck decides to walk us back to the hotel," Yount said. "For whatever reason, like a Marine sergeant, he called cadence. He told all of us to line up and we would march back."
In the middle of a highway, a cop car pulled up and inquired what the group was doing.
"Ueck says to the policeman, ‘We’re marching. What’s it look like we are doing?’" Yount said.
The cop car then pulled over to the side of the road and two officers emerged. But they didn’t react the way one would think.
"Ueck says to them, ‘What are you guys doing?’" Yount said. "They don’t really respond and Ueck tells them to get in the line. And they do."
When they got back to the hotel, an officer stood on each side of the revolving door and saluted the Brewers, wishing them good luck in their game the next day.
"That’s the type of person Bob Uecker is," Yount said. "I’m not sure what type that is, but that’s what type he is. He didn’t get thrown in jail and none of us got thrown in jail."
The Miller Lite commercial the Uecker statue is based off of was ranked by ESPN as the fifth-best sports commercial of all time. Designed by Brian Maughan, the statue is made of bronze, but is in full color.
"It’s been a great ride and a great thrill to be able to work here and to be allowed by our former owner Bud Selig and now Mark Attanasio to get myself involved in all these other projects," Uecker said. "Those Miller Lite years, the commercials that ran for some 17 years, were one of the most unbelievable times that I’ve ever had, working with Hall of Famers in their respective sports. Those series of commercials, which to this day are the best that were ever made — that’s my opinion."
Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter