What can we say about Bob Uecker that we haven’t said already? Not much! Well, there’s this: Milwaukee’s own Mr. Baseball was a favorite guest of the late, great Johnny Carson, having appeared on the old Tonight Show more than 60 times. A few of those appearances have been kicking around YouTube for years, though a recently unearthed clip shows Ueck at the height of his bone-dry, laconic powers.
Taken from an April 30, 1976 episode, the clip features a 42-year-old Uecker sporting an incredible sports jacket (“I got it outside. Eight bucks for the whole thing,”) an incredible head of hair, and, halfway through the thing, a cigarette. (Other very 1976-y guests that night include Paul Lynde and McLean Stevenson.) Then there’s his 10-minute-plus, tongue-in-cheek interview, which unravels at a pace that gives new meaning to “laid-back.” Some highlights:
• On getting arrested for drunk driving on a Honda motorcycle: “[The police officer] asked me if I’d been drinking, and I said, well, I had a couple of crème de menthes after dinner.”
• On baseball catchers putting “falsies” in their gloves back in the day: “It never bothered you. You’re losing 16-0 in the 5th inning, but the catcher’s sitting back there smiling.”
• On fighting in baseball: “I was more of a sucker-puncher. Just walk around in a circle and hit guys in the back of the neck.”
• On getting hammered after games: “I’ve had some of my best nights after a game. When you go out and pound it…I think anybody, I think any player with ability can play. I think for a guy to go out every night and punish himself…”