Uecker calls statue honor 'wonderful'

Uecker calls statue honor 'wonderful'

Uecker calls statue honor 'wonderful'
CHICAGO -- Bob Uecker held court in the cramped training room at Wrigley Field on Thursday, sending Brewers players into fits of laughter by telling about the night Andre the Giant scared Mary Hart so badly that she locked herself in the bathroom and refused to help Uecker host Wrestlemania.

Uecker eventually coaxed his co-host out. The show had to go on.

For his work on stage and screen, his famously average playing career and, most of all, for his entertaining radio broadcasts of Brewers games for the last 40 years, Uecker will be immortalized in bronze outside Miller Park on Friday. A seven-foot statue depicting Uecker standing casually, his hands in his pockets, will join similar tributes to Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Robin Yount, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig.

"I'm looking forward to it," Uecker said. "It's a wonderful thing to have happen, and I get a chance to see a lot of old friends. I talked to Bob Costas this morning and he's in town already, all fired up about being the emcee. Henry Aaron is all fired up, and he'll be there."

The list of attendees will be long and diverse, spanning the entertainment world and the baseball world. He extended special invitations to the doctors and nurses from Milwaukee's Froedtert Hospital, who cared for Uecker through two major heart surgeries in 2010.

Does Uecker expect any heckling at the event?

"I hope there is," he deadpanned. "I'm sure there's a lot of people who are still aggravated, that put money on games and I lost their homes."

That famous sense of humor will be on full display in an afternoon ceremony at Miller Park's home plate plaza. Aaron and Selig will be among the attendees, and Yount filmed a video message because he is traveling overseas.

Uecker, inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2001, the broadcasters' wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame earlier this year, has already seen the statue, and was pleased. There was debate about whether to include a microphone, but Uecker preferred it be left out.

"And I didn't want to do it with a bat, because of where they wanted to put it," he joked. "It's where I had it most of my career."

Who was the first person who told him he was so funny?

"A couple of teachers that kicked me out of school, that's where it really happened," Uecker said. "My dad was at school more than I was."

The Brewers have reminded their fans that there is extremely limited standing room available for the general public at Friday's unveiling. FS Wisconsin will air the 1:30 p.m. CT ceremony live, and MLB.com will have complete coverage -- including video highlights -- after the event.