Tag Archive | "League Career"

uecker

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Coolest Guy in the Room – Bob Uecker gets his day…and he didn’t even have to pay admission.

Posted on 04 September 2012 by Trish Vignola

How did a backup catcher who batted .200 during a famously forgettable Major League career wind up immortalized with a bronze statue outside Miller Park?

Few know that Bob Uecker found fame as a Major League broadcaster because of he failed as a Major League scout. Former Brewers General Manager Frank Lane sent Uecker to grade prospects in the Northern League in 1970. When the first batch of reports returned to Lane unreadable, slathered in the remains of Uecker’s last meal, Lane demanded a change.

MLB Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig, the Brewers’ owner at the time remembered Uecker as “the worst scout in baseball history.”

Well.

Selig decided to move him to the broadcast booth in 1971. Because of that seemingly small decision at the time, saving the sanity of his GM, Selig set the wheels in motion. Today, Uecker was immortalized alongside two Hall of Famers and the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

For 42 amazing seasons of entertaining Brewers fans, the Brewers made Uecker a permanent fixture outside Miller Park on Friday afternoon. His seven-foot statue joined similar tributes to Selig, who brought the Brewers to Milwaukee as well as Hall of Fame players Henry Aaron and Robin Yount.

“The baseball announcer becomes a link to their fans,” Selig said. “You go to Harry Caray, or Bob Prince in Pittsburgh, Mel Allen in New York, Vin Scully is legendary, a classic…That’s Bob Uecker here.”

Don’t forget. Although Uecker was a slouch on the field, he was never a slouch in the booth. His knowledge of the game, as well as some pretty amazing comedy chops, put Uecker head and shoulders above his cohorts.

Some highlights of the ceremony as seen on MLB.com:

– Uecker, on why he stayed in Milwaukee all these years: “It was a parole thing.”

– Costas, on the statue’s company: “If you walk on the plaza and listen closely, you can hear Henry’s statue begging to be relocated to Lambeau [Field]. When word of this got out, pigeons all over the Midwest relocated to Milwaukee to pay their respects.”

– Yount, via video message, standing in front of the Colosseum in Rome: “He’s been around so long, I think he played here.”

– NBC executive Dick Ebersol: “One thing I want to set straight right now — Bob did not have to pay for the statue. I know that’s been going around.”

– Hall of Famer, Hank Aaron: “I want to go back to the time when we were playing in Atlanta, and I was in a semi slump. You were always in a slump.”

Contrary to the stories he told over the years, Uecker was actually a terrific high school baseball player. He signed with his hometown Braves in 1956. By 1962, he made it to the Majors as a 27-year-old backup catcher. Uecker was traded to the Cardinals in 1964, just in time to win his only World Series ring. Uecker went on to play for the Phillies and finally finished his career with Braves again, this time in Atlanta.

A talent scout for the Tonight Show discovered him at a nightclub owned by jazz trumpeter Al Hirt in 1969. It opened the door to more than 100 appearances with Carson. As a sports satirist myself, Bob Uecker just went from a second rate backup catcher to the coolest guy in the room.

Carson, people!

Uecker’s appearances on Carson were followed by his popular Miller Lite commercials, a starring role on the ABC sitcom “Mr. Belvedere” and of course…the Major League series of films. Let’s face it folks. Bob Uecker permanently skewed our view of the game… in the best way possible.

“One of the great privileges of my life, and of Bob’s life, was to really know Johnny Carson well,” said NBC executive Dick Ebersol. Ebersol was head of the network’s Late Night division at the time of Uecker’s debut. “And Johnny told me on more than one occasion, including about two months before he died, in a very raspy phone call [because] he had a form of emphysema … that Bob Uecker was the most original humorist he had ever known, that it all came from Bob’s gut, from Bob’s soul. He was not surrounded by an army of writers. He was, legitimately, in Johnny’s mind, the funniest man he ever knew.”

Wow.

Ebersol employed Uecker on a series of other shows, including three Wrestlemania broadcasts. Regardless of his success, Uecker never left his spot in the Brewers’ broadcast booth. Selig revealed that even the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner once tried to secretly lure Uecker away.

What?!

Other attendees included former Tonight Show band director Doc Severinsen, Hank Aaron’s wife, Billye, and Uecker’s cast mates from “Mr. Belvedere.” Former Braves teammates Joe Torre, Johnny Logan and Felix Mantilla attended as well as former Brewers – Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, Jim Gantner and Gorman Thomas. Nearly 20 current Brewers including Ryan Braun also broke their usual pregame routine to attend.

“We have a rich tradition in Milwaukee here, and we can’t celebrate it enough,” Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio said. “Today is really a blessing, and really, one of the nicest days in my years of ownership.”

Uecker spoke after the big reveal of his statue, which depicts him standing casually with his hands in his pockets. After pulling the curtain away, Uecker turned to emcee Costas and asked, “What do you want me to do?” Costas replied, “What do you want to do?” Uecker responded in typical Uecker fashion… “I want to get my money back.”

Let’s not kid ourselves. If Uecker played today, none of us would have drafted him to our fantasy baseball teams. (Ok. Maybe I would have.) The point is we would all kill for his post-baseball career. Ok. Maybe I would.

Comments (2)

Finders Keepers: The Jean Segura Edition

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Finders Keepers: The Jean Segura Edition

Posted on 30 July 2012 by T.J. McDonald

By now, we have come to the point of the fantasy season where it is painfully obvious for some and dangerously close for others that they are no longer in playoff contention. While there is always next year, for owners out of contention in Keeper and Dynasty leagues, now can be prime time to mold a solid foundation for a future title run. Enter shortstop/second baseman Jean Segura, who Friday was in the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim trade for Zack Greinke. On Friday, Zack Greinke of the Milwaukee Brewers was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  in exchange for three prospects:  shortstop/second basemen Jean Segura, RHP John Hellweg and RHP Ariel Pena. While on the surface most baseball fans and fantasy baseball players in general will view this as Greinke to the Angels. For keeper and dynasty league owners it should be all about Jean Segura to the Brewers. Below, I will go over Segura’s minor league profile and path to the majors now that he has been acquired by the Brewers and his long term potential and prospects.

Segura is a second basemen/shortstop who was currently ranked as the Angels #1 prospect  in their system following the graduation of Mike Trout  earlier this year. He was also ranked as Keith Law’s 44th best prospect in all of baseball coming into the season and 67th best prospect by Kevin Goldstein. He was the Angels only representative at the Future’s Games during the All Star break. Segura’s career average is.310 with 203 RBIs and his 122 career walks drawn show good plate discipline. He was hitting .294, 7 Hrs, 40 RBIs and 33 SBs in 374 ABs with the AA Arkansas Travelers the Angels AA affiliate prior to his call up on on July 21st.  However he was immediately assigned to AA Huuntsville Milwaukee’s AA affiliate following the trade but is predicted to make his Brewers debut later this year. He has struggled with injuries throughout his minor league career but has hit for a high average with good stolen base numbers at every minor level so far. He has low power numbers, career high HRs 10 with scouts being very high on his plate discipline and his ability to make contact.  He is profiled as a possible All-Star who should hit for average with true plus speed.

Now for his keeper potential and prospects. He was blocked in the Angels organization by long term contracts for starting shortstop Erick Aybar and starting second baseman Howie Kendrick. With the added road block of super utility infielder Maicer Izturis and Mike Scioscia’s general reluctance  to rely on rookies. While he was called up recently by the Angels, prior to the trade, when Aybar went on the disabled listed he only saw one game of actual game action going 0 for 3 with 2 strike outs. Now that he is with the Brewers his path to the majors and full playing time is much clearer. Short stop talent is very thin in the Brewers organization and he is only blocked at the major league level by shortstop Alex Gonzalez currently out for the year with a torn right ACL with the Brewers holding a club option on him for next year, 36 year old utility infielder Cody Ransom and 32 year old veteran shortstop Cesar Izturis. None are considered the long term option at short for the Brewers. All signs point to Segura reaching the big league club this year, becoming their everyday shortstop starting opening day next year and sticking there for the foreseeable future.  If you are looking for a long term shortstop in your keeper or dynasty league then Segura may be your man. With a possible call up coming later this season this will give you a nice glimpse of his potential and services he could offer as a keeper for your fantasy team. As of yesterday he is owned in only 0.1% of yahoo leagues, 0.1% ESPN leagues and 8% CBS leagues. He is currently second base eligible only in both CBS and yahoo with SS eligibility only in CBS. He is being projected long term as the Brewers everyday short stop. He does however have the skills and ability to play second so he could have duel eligibility in future fantasy seasons. I grade his keeper potential as a B.

Are you at the point in your keeper or dynasty league this season where you  have one eye on the future? Will Jean Segura be on your radar for a possible pickup and keep? Feel free to let me know in the comments and as always following me on twitter @FantasyzrTJ for all your fantasy baseball needs.

Comments (2)

Goodbye Kerry Wood, whatever you do…don’t sing.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Goodbye Kerry Wood, whatever you do…don’t sing.

Posted on 29 May 2012 by Trish Vignola

Has it really been 15 years? Apparently and with that, Kerry Wood said goodbye to his decade-plus major league career on May 18th. My generation’s Nolan Ryan appropriately ended it where it all started – at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

Grant it. How many of you were shocked to know Wood was still even playing?

He fanned White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo on three pitches in the eighth inning and with that, the door closed on a career that included one of the most memorable performances in major league baseball history. On May 6, 1998, a 20-year old Kerry Wood, in just his fifth big league start, struck out twenty and threw a one-hit complete game to beat the Astros 2-0. He was only the third player in major league baseball to do so.

Wait! Are you trying to tell me that Kerry Wood is my age? Man, that cigarette habit he picked up has not been kind to him.

Seriously, Wood had sixteen stints on the disabled list. That’s an astounding 946 days taken from his career. In 2007, he switched from a starter to reliever in order to preserve his arm. Grant it. He was no Mariano Rivera, but he became the only pitcher in baseball history with at least seventy-five wins, fifty saves and ten strikeouts per nine innings.

Although Wood made a significant impact on the modern game, he is not Cooperstown bound. He was on the disabled list way too much. Still, my jaded soul recognizes the rock star Wood was (and is). You have to give it up to the Cubs (and I never give it up to the Cubs). They sent him out in appropriate fashion.

It was Wood’s choice to retire mid-season. There’s no solid answer why, but you can put two and two together. He didn’t have enough left to hang for one full season. Why not go out on top?

The Cubs plan was to get Wood in one last game in a spot he is normally used and afterward the right-hander would walk off into the sunset. Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk (stepping in for a ejected Dale Sveum) ended up improvising. He first thought he would use Wood for consecutive right-handed batters. Then he thought that since the pitcher’s spot was due up sixth after that half inning he might even let Wood get those two outs and go back for more the next inning. But when the opportunity arose in the 8th inning to relieve starter Jeff Samardzija and Viciedo came to bat, the time was now.

After an ending that couldn’t be written better by W.P. Kinsella, Wood partied his retirement into fruition with former Blackhawks player Chris Chelios and actual rock star Eddie Vedder. Viral video captured the trio singing a song by The Band at Lincoln Park’s Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap.

Kerry Wood went out, as he came in to his major league baseball career, in true rock star fashion. I’m sure that any team would welcome him in the future, especially as a pitching coach.

Oh, if you are wondering, even with the addition of Pearl Jam’s front man, karaoke is still pretty lousy.

Comments (0)

AL Piching Planner: May 21 – May 27

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

AL Piching Planner: May 21 – May 27

Posted on 21 May 2012 by Mark Sherrard

With only two teams (LA Angels and Seattle Mariner) playing 7 games this week, the AL has fewer two start pitchers to choose from than their NL counterparts.  Plus, I think pitching is thin in the AL this year, as there seems to be fewer quality pitchers to choose from.

Thus, make sure you choose your pitchers wisely as we head into Week 8:

Two-Start Pitchers

No-Brainers

Yu Darvish:  5/21 @ SEA; 5/27 vs TOR – yes his stuff translates well to English, thank you very much.

Felix Hernandez: 5/21 vs TEX; 5/26 vs LAA – a little bit of a hiccup last time out, but you’ve got to keep riding him

C.J. Wilson: 5/22 @ OAK; 5/27 @ SEA – has struggled of late, but gets to face weak hitting A’s and Mariners

Results

Week 6 -8 GS, 5 QS, 4 W, 46.0 IP, 68 H+BB, 34 K’s, 26 ER, 5.09 ERA, 1.48 whip

YTD -37 GS, 27 QS, 22 W, 250.1 IP, 295 H+BB, 207 K’s, 84 ER, 3.02 ERA, 1.18 whip

Not Too Shabby

Jeremy Hellickson: 5/21 vs TOR; 5/27 @ BOS – not the best of matchups for the youngster

Hiroki Kuroda: 5/21 vs KC; 5/27 @ OAK – has only faced the Royals and A’s once each in his career (6.10 ERA)

Jerome Williams: 5/21 @ OAK; 5/26 @ SEA – pitchers want to face these two teams

Gavin Floyd: 5/22 vs MIN; 5/27 vs CLE – excellent 46/14 K/BB ratio for the 29 year old

Felipe Paulino: 5/21 @ NYY; 5/27 @ BAL – a couple tough matchups, but has pitched well against both

Kyle Drabek: 5/21 @ TB; 5/27 @ TEX – has held his own against these two in his short career

Rick Porcello: 5/22 @ CLE; 5/27 @ MIN – one really bad start (1 IP, 8 ER), but 3.63 ERA in all others

Tommy Milone: 5/21 vs LAA; 5/27 vs NYY – 6-3 with a 3.99 ERA in 76.2 IP for his major league career

Results

Week 6 -16 GS, 9 QS, 5 W, 98.0 IP, 143 H+BB, 71 K’s, 58 ER, 5.33 ERA, 1.46 whip

YTD -79 GS, 47 QS, 33 W, 489.0 IP, 640 H+BB, 353 K’s, 219 ER, 4.03 ERA, 1.31 whip

Risky At Best

Tommy Hunter:  5/21 vs BOS; 5/27 vs KC – 5-5 with a 4.94 ERA since coming over to the Orioles

Hector Noesi: 5/22 vs TEX; 5/27 vs LAA – Albert Pujols is waking up and the Rangers are always dangerous

Ubaldo Jimenez: 5/22 vs DET; 5/27 @ CHW – command issues continue to haunt him

Clay Buchholz: 5/21 @ BAL; 5/27 vs TB – has given up 10 homers in his 8 starts

Results

Week 6 -7 GS, 2 QS, 3 W, 34.0 IP, 56 H+BB, 24 K’s, 24 ER, 6.35 ERA, 1.65 whip

YTD – 56 GS, 21 QS, 15 W, 300.1 IP, 459 H+BB, 208 K’s, 183 ER, 5.48 ERA, 1.53 whip

Other Favorable Matchups

Doug Fister: 5/23 @ CLE

3-2 with a 2.31 ERA in his career against the Indians

Jason Vargas: 5/24 vs LAA

3-3 (no run support) with a 2.39 ERA against the Angels

Vin Mazzaro: 5/26 @ BAL

Going out a bit on a limb here, but Mazzaro is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA against the Orioles

Results

Week 6 -4 GS, 2 QS, 1 W, 26.2 IP, 35 H+BB, 23 K’s, 3.04 ERA, 1.31 whip

YTD – 17 GS, 10 QS, 6 W, 117.0 IP, 141 H+BB, 102 K’s, 42 ER, 3.23 ERA, 1.21 whip

See ya next week.

Comments (0)

3 UP and 3 Down

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 UP and 3 Down

Posted on 03 May 2012 by Gary Marchese

3 Up and 3 Down

It is that time again for the weekly 3 UP and 3 Down.  This is a weekly article I do looking at three players who I consider “up” or performing well and three who are “down” or struggling at this point in the season.  I may also look at teams later on in the year but for now we will stick with players.

UP: Bryce Harper

Picture 1 of 6


Bryce Harper got called up to the major leagues at the age of 19. He got called up because Ryan Zimmerman got put on the disabled list. He is here though no matter how he did it and trying to stay. He was going to be up in the majors at some point this year anyway. Harper has made an immediate impression. He has a strong arm that he has been showing off, made some good defensive plays and has a couple of hits. The power will come in time as he adjusts and gets used to major league life.

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here