There’s a reason Bob Uecker is self-deprecating. He really, really sucked — especially as an Atlanta Brave.

Uecker played his first and last major league games with the franchise, debuting as a Milwaukee Brave in 1962. He was re-acquired in June 1967 from the Phillies to be Joe Torre’s back-up but ended up starting 48 games, often as Knucksie’s personal catcher. Not that he was any good at it.

The Miller Lite pitchman led NL catchers in errors (11) and passed balls (27 , 25 as a Brave) despite only 59 starts. That’s more passed balls than Eddie Perez and Charlie O’Brien allowed in their careers.

Uecker was equally inept at the plate, managing but 23 hits (18 singles) in 158 Atlanta AB’s, striking out 51 times for a .146 BA. The only thing worse than his .236 OBP was a pitcher-like .215 slugging percentage. Mercifully, the Braves released Uecker four days after the season concluded. I’m surprised it took that long.

NOTE: Not ranked in order; Uecker may well be the worst of the worst. He certainly won’t be the last catcher to make out list. 

3 responses to “The 20 worst A-Braves players: #18 Bob Uecker”

  1. cleteboyerfan Avatar

    Granted, Uecker was a hitter of Corky Miller proportions. But he did have value because of his role as Niekro’s personal catcher in 1967. Knucksie won the ERA title that year (1.87) and became an established big league pitcher after years of yo-yoing between AAA and MLB. Joe Torre and other Braves catchers were loath to call for his knuckler; Uecker would call for it extensively because he knew it was Niekro’s best pitch. Those outsized error and passed ball numbers are because of that knuckleball. Knucksie has always credited Uecker for that 1967 season that gave him a permanent spot in the majors.

    So I will file a mild protest on Uecker’s inclusion on this list. A VERY mild protest. It IS hard to sugarcoat a .146 average….

  2. roadrunner48 Avatar

    That’s a good point, Clete. One has to give him some slack on the passed balls as well.

    Because of his importance in Niekro’s development, I don’t think he should be on the list. It’s not as if there aren’t a slew of worthy alternatives who had nothing to do with even a whiff of success.

  3. atlmalcontent Avatar

    I have to disagree a little bit. A lot of catchers caught Knucksie over the years and didn’t commit 25 PB’s. And what of the 11 errors — those had nothing to do with the knuckler.

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