Bob Uecker has turned himself into a celebrity by pointing at his feeble playing career and making people laugh. He has gone out of his way to grab the unofficial title of "Worst Player in MLB History." An article by deadspin had him right near the top. Considering that he was a catcher with six years of service, I figured I would compare him to our own Jeff Mathis and see how they stack up.
Bob Uecker did not crack an MLB roster until the age of 27 when he first appeared for the Atlanta Braves. Mathis ran a pretty quick trip to the major leagues and made it at the age of 22. Clearly Mathis was the hotter prospect.
Due to getting 5 plate appearances in 2005, Mathis has appeared in 7 seasons to Uecker's 6. Slightest of advantages to Mathis.
Now, let's take a look at how the fared when the finally got a chance to play Major League Baseball.
In 1962, Uecker racked up 16 hits (1 HR) in 64 at-bats for a .250 average, and .328 slugging percentage. In 2006, Mathis collected 8 hits (2 HR) in 55 at-bats for a cool .145 average and .291 slugging. Advantage Uecker.
Neither catcher went on to improve dramatically and Uecker, at least, had a manager smart enough to never give him more than 237 plate appearances in a season. However, Mathis' offense is so anemic that statistical comparisons can still be made.
Uecker's highest batting average (min 50 ab) .228 (1965). Mathis highest average (min 50 ab) .211 (2009). Again, advantage Uecker.
Most home runs in a year. Mathis 9 in 2008. Uecker 7 in 1966 with nearly 100 fewer AB's. Still advantage Mathis.
Lifetime average. Uecker .200. Mathis .199. Advantage Ueker.
Lifetime slugging: Uecker .287. Mathis .307. Advatage Mathis.
Lifetime on-base. Uecker .293. Mathis .262. Advantage Uecker.
Defensively, Mathis as a -0.8 dWar to Uecker's -2.0, so advantage Mathis.
Both players have negative career WAR's. Ueker -1.2 to Mathis -2.2. Edge to Uecker
All in all, outside of a great sense of humor and a role in Major League, the two are really similar. The greatest difference is in total plate appearances and at bats; the one factor pretty much outside of their control.
Let the catcher's ERA comments begin.