Vin Scully, Bob Uecker, and Charlie Brown Elected to the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals for 2017

Published : Sunday, May 7, 2017 | 4:49 AM

On May 3, 2017, the Board of Directors of the Baseball Reliquary announced the nineteenth class of electees to the Shrine of the Eternals. The Shrine of the Eternals is the national organization’s equivalent to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Vin Scully, Bob Uecker, and Charlie Brown were elected upon receiving the highest number of votes in balloting conducted during the month of April 2017 by the membership of the Baseball Reliquary. The three electees will be formally inducted into the Shrine of the Eternals in a public
ceremony on Sunday, July 16, 2017 at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium in the Pasadena Central Library, Pasadena, California.

Of the fifty eligible candidates on the 2017 ballot, Vin Scully received the highest voting percentage, being named on 59.5% of the ballots returned. Following Scully were Bob Uecker with 37% and Charlie Brown with 25.5%. Runners-up in this year’s election included Leo Durocher (24.8%), Bob Costas (23.5%), Octavius V. Catto (23%), and Effa Manley (23%). Scully’s 59.5% is the highest voting percentage since the annual Shrine of the Eternals elections were inaugurated in 1999; the previous high totals were Bill “Spaceman” Lee in 2000 and Buck O’Neil in 2008, both of whom received 53% of the vote. Voting percentages for all fifty candidates appear at the end of this announcement.

Elected to the Shrine of the Eternals in his first year on the ballot, VIN SCULLY, born in 1927, served as the urbane and lyrical voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for 67 years. Considered by many the greatest sportscaster of all time, the always eloquent and gentlemanly Scully was admired far beyond the reach of local airwaves: he also broadcast a total of 28 different Fall Classics to a national audience. His iconic calls of the Bill Buckner muff in 1986 and Kirk Gibson’s heroic home run in 1988 have now passed into the realm of the Homeric. Scully’s descriptions of events occurring on the diamond, entwined with vivid reveries, poetic anecdotes, and spontaneous riffs retrieved from his vast store of baseball memories, have enthralled generations of baseball fans. His retirement at the end of the 2016 season was a milestone in baseball history, widely commemorated across America, culminating with the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to him by President Obama at The White House that November.

Elected to the Shrine of the Eternals in his second year on the ballot, BOB UECKER, born in 1935, underwhelmed fans with six season’s-worth of uninspired play as a lowly backup catcher (career .200 batting average) for the Braves, Cardinals, and Phillies (1962-1967). Proving an  exception to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s maxim about the absence of second acts in American lives, Uecker would discover unexpected celebrity and a brand-new career after retirement from the game. A natural, wry wit mixed with self-deprecating humor that mocked his baseball ineptitude enabled him to achieve pop culture stardom. Well-received guest spots on The Tonight Show (Johnny and Ed loved him) led to appearances in TV ads for Miller Lite beer (“I must be in the front roooow”) and other products, culminating in a recurring role in the sitcom Mr. Belvedere. Uecker’s unlikely and successful transformation continued to develop in baseball-themed film comedies (like Major League, with his famous wild pitch call, “juust a little outside”) and a host of other entertainment vehicles. Uecker has been the radio broadcast voice of his hometown Milwaukee Brewers since 1971, and was honored by the Hall of Fame in 2003 with its Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting.

Among American iconic figures – Mickey Mouse, Superman, Elvis – none touch the heart and breadth of the human experience as beautifully, and sadly, as CHARLIE BROWN, born in 1950 and elected to the Shrine of the Eternals in his tenth year on the ballot. The embodiment of
our aspirations and failures, the stocky, round-headed kid created by the late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz has suffered the ignominy of loss and disappointment with the grace and aplomb that only . . . a cartoon character can muster. His Peanuts gang, a literal microcosm of personality
types (the self-absorbed artist, the slob, the insecure philosopher, the all-American bitch), exemplifies a social order in which the ordinarily or marginally talented are doomed unless they possess the inner strength to keep trying, again and again, in the face of certain existential
embarrassment. I can’t go on. I’ll go on. The setting for many Peanuts morality plays is the baseball field, a perfect arena for Charlie’s whimsical, thought-provoking, funny, and pathetic exploits. From his perch atop the pitching mound, Charlie imagines himself as the reincarnation of Christy Mathewson, preparing to zip a blazing fastball, puzzling knuckler, or nasty fadeaway past the opposing batter. In point of fact, however, Charlie has only one pitch, a slow straight ball, that is batted with such force back through the mound that the ensuing line drives routinely undress him. Okay, man on first, no big deal. I’ll get this next guy. Or maybe the guy after him. He fares even worse as manager: the best player on the team is his dog Snoopy, who has no idea what’s happening on the field. By one count the career record for the Peanuts team is 2-930, the
two wins coming on the heels of forfeits. Charlie embraces and embodies awfulness. While the other kids are celebrating Mickey Mantle, Charlie extols the talents of one Joe Shlabotnik, a noodnik no-talent washout. It appears laughable, but there’s a real wisdom in this: there can be
only one Mickey Mantle, but anyone can be Joe Shlabotnik. Yes, Charlie Brown may be a blockhead, but in his unshakeable belief in himself and his imagination, he will always be a winner.

Vin Scully, Bob Uecker, and Charlie Brown will join 54 other baseball luminaries who have been inducted into the Shrine of the Eternals since elections began in 1999, including, in alphabetical order, Jim Abbott, Dick Allen, Roger Angell, Emmett Ashford, Moe Berg, Sy Berger, Yogi Berra, Steve Bilko, Ila Borders, Jim Bouton, Jim Brosnan, Bill Buckner, Glenn Burke, Roberto Clemente, Steve Dalkowski, Dizzy Dean, Rod Dedeaux, Jim Eisenreich, Dock Ellis, Eddie Feigner, Mark Fidrych, Curt Flood, Ted Giannoulas, Josh Gibson, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, Pete Gray, Arnold Hano, William “Dummy” Hoy, Bo Jackson, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Bill James, Dr. Frank Jobe, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Roger Maris, Marvin Miller, Minnie Minoso, Manny Mota, Don Newcombe, Lefty O’Doul, Buck O’Neil, Satchel Paige, Jimmy Piersall, Pam Postema, Jackie Robinson, Rachel Robinson, Lester Rodney, Pete Rose, Casey Stengel, Luis Tiant, Fernando Valenzuela, Bill Veeck, Jr., Maury Wills, Kenichi Zenimura, and Don Zimmer.

THE SHRINE OF THE ETERNALS: 2017 VOTING PERCENTAGES

  • Vin Scully – 59.5%
  •  Bob Uecker – 37%
  •  Charlie Brown – 25.5%
  •  Leo Durocher – 24.8%
  •  Bob Costas – 23.5%
  •  Octavius V. Catto – 23%
  •  Effa Manley – 23%
  •  Chet Brewer – 22%
  •  Charles M. Conlon – 22%
  •  Charlie Finley – 22%
  •  J.R. Richard – 22%
  •  John Young – 20%
  •  Rocky Colavito – 18%
  •  Luke Easter – 18%
  •  Lisa Fernandez – 18%
  •  Ernie Harwell – 18%
  •  Mamie Johnson – 18%
  •  Denny McLain – 18%
  •  Hideo Nomo – 18%
  •  Rube Foster – 17%
  •  Dr. Mike Marshall – 17%
  •  Fred Merkle – 17%
  •  Pete Reiser – 17%
  •  Bert Campaneris – 16%
  •  Ted Kluszewski – 16%
  •  Bing Russell – 15%
  •  Annie Savoy – 15%
  •  Rusty Staub – 15%
  •  Chris Von der Ahe – 15%
  •  Tug McGraw – 14%
  •  Phil Pote – 14%
  •  John Thorn – 14%
  •  Dave Parker – 13%
  •  Nancy Faust – 12%
  •  Oscar Gamble – 12%
  •  Daniel Okrent – 12%
  •  Joe Pepitone – 12%
  •  Vic Power – 12%
  •  Charley Pride – 12%
  •  Rube Waddell – 12%
  •  Reuben Berman – 11%
  •  Jose Canseco – 10%
  •  Mo’ne Davis – 10%
  •  Mike Hessman – 10%
  •  Manuel “Shorty” Perez – 10%
  •  Margaret Donahue – 8%
  •  Manny Ramirez – 8%
  •  Sam Nahem – 7%
  •  Steve Wilstein – 7%
  •  Babe Dahlgren – 6%