When the Milwaukee Brewers players received their playoff shares in November they decided to split up $10.5 million dollars in 64 full shares, valued at $122,957.13, but also 21 partial shares and cash awards.
The gesture by the team, which look at 85-year-old Uecker as an extension of the roster, floored the long-time broadcaster.
“To include me in that, I couldn’t believe it,” said Uecker. “I said, ‘I don’t believe it. Really?’ I’ve tried to make sure I thanked every one of them.”
The team’s generosity was just the beginning. The Hall-of-Fame broadcaster immediately split the money up among four of his favorite charities.
What are the four charities?
Make-A-Wish Foundation, which fulfills “wish” experiences for children with life-threatening medical conditions. In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 34 minutes. Uecker has been active with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin for many years, including raising money for the non-profit through public events.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Milwaukee, the largest youth-serving agency in the city of Milwaukee and has grown to be one of the largest Boys & Girls Clubs in the country. Every day, an average of 5,000 of Milwaukee’s youth stream through their doors and participate in academic and recreational programming. A Milwaukee native, Uecker grew up watching baseball games at Borchert Field.
Wounded Warriors, a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military actions following September 11, 2001. More than 52,000 servicemen and women physically injured in recent military conflicts. 500,000 living with invisible wounds, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. 320,000 experiencing debilitating brain trauma. With the support of donors and team members, wounded warrior give a voice to those needs and empower warriors to begin the journey to recovery.
Uecker, a long-time supporter of the military, served for two years in the U.S. Army before playing professional baseball. In 2018, he was the recipient of the Citizen Support for Our Armed Services Award.
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Froedtert Cancer Center, is a partnership between Froedtert Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin supporting a shared mission of patient care, innovation, medical research and education. They also operate eastern Wisconsin’s only academic medical center and adult Level I Trauma Center. Uecker has had a few health scares in the past few years, including surviving pancreatic cancer.
The Perfect Pair
“Mr. Baseball” has been a part of the Milwaukee baseball franchise for more than 60 years. In 1956 he signed a professional contract and made his debut with the Milwaukee Braves in 1962. After retiring from playing in 1967, he began calling play-by-play for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1971 and has been there ever since.
Last season, as the Brewers players celebrated their playoff berth and the National League Central championship, Uecker was invited down to the clubhouse to celebrate, by the team. His fist pumping celebration went viral, and was invited to tell the story of the night on many national radio and tv shows.
Uecker joked that if he didn’t come down the players would have drenched with champagne in the booth, so he had to make the right decision for the equipment.
49 seasons and counting
As Uecker gets set for the start of the 2019 season, he is in unique company. Many long-time announcers have walked away from the game, but Uecker is showing no signs of slowing down. Although he has reduced his road game broadcasts, he continues to do all home games. He also has two booth mates in Jeff Levering and Lane Grindle, both of whom Uecker helped select, that have picked up those road games, carrying on the tradition of storytelling and quality baseball broadcasting.
Whatever “Ueck” decides to do, the city, team, management staff, players and fans will support and love him. He is truly one of the class acts in baseball and we hope to hear his voice and stories on our radio waves for another 20 seasons!