07/27/2003 6:38 PM ET
Uecker speech excerpts
Here are some excerpts from Bob Uecker's Hall of Fame speech:
Listen to the speech
On his first football:
"We tried to pass it, throw it, kick it and it was very discouraging for him and for me and we almost quit. And finally we had a nice enough neighbor who came over and put some air in it, and what a difference."
On his dad: "I got a lot of my ability from my father as a lot of these other guys did. My dad actually came to this country as a soccer player. He didn't play, he blew up the balls."
On his first cup: "My mother made me one out of a flour sack. And the tough thing about that is you put that baby on, you whip it out of your bag in the gym and all of the guys are looking at it. You start the game and the guy guarding you knows exactly where you're going because where you're going because specks of flour keep dropping out and then right down the front it says Pillsbury's best."
On his first contract: "I signed a very modest $3,000 bonus with the Braves in Milwaukee. And my old man didn't have that kinda money to put out."
On his playing career:
"I still, and this is not sour grapes by any means, still think I should have gone in as a player."
"Starting with the Braves in Milwaukee, St. Louis where I won a World Championship for them in 1964, to the Philadelphia Phillies and back to the Braves in Atlanta where I became Phil Niekro's personal chaser."
How he knew he might be moving from a team:
"Grab a bat and stop this rally."
"Send me up there without a bat and tell me to try for a walk."
"Look down to the third base coach for a sign and he turns his back on you."
"A .200 lifetime batting average in the Major Leagues tied me with another sports great averaging 200 or better in a 10-year period -- Don Carter, one of our top bowlers."
"Phil Niekro and his brother were pitching against each other in Atlanta. Their parents were sitting right behind home plate. I saw their folks more that day than they did the whole weekend."
"I'd take them to a game and they would want to come back with a different player."
"The Cardinals' GM at that time asked me if I would do him and the Cardinals a favor. I said I would and he said we'd like to inject you with hepatitis. We need to bring an infielder up."
"I had a great shoe contract and glove contract with a company who paid me a lot of money never to be seen using their stuff."
"People have asked me a lot of times, because I didn't hit a lot, how long a dozen bats would last me. Depending on the weight and model I was using at that time -- I would say eight to 10 cookouts."
On the end of his career:
"When the Braves were going to release me ... it's a tough time for a manager, for your family, for the player to be told that you are never going to play the game again. And I can remember walking into the clubhouse that day and Lumen Harris, who was the Braves manager, came up to me and said there were no visitors allowed."
"Paul Richards was the GM and he told me the Braves wanted to make me a coach for the following season and that I would be coaching second base."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.