Legendary Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker revealed Monday he survived being bitten by a poisonous brown recluse spider last year.
Uecker, 84, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was bitten in October while changing a light-bulb in his backyard.
“I had a pair of shorts on,” he said. “I got bit by a spider but I didn’t know it. I didn’t feel it bite me. The next day, I had a red mark on my leg, and it kept getting bigger. I kept trying to take care of it by myself but it kept getting worse.”
The Hall of Fame broadcaster said four days after receiving the bite he went to the doctor for routine blood work and showed him the ugly wound on his left leg.
“He said, ‘You need to go to the hospital. That’s a brown recluse spider bite. That’s bad,’ ” Uecker said. “He knew right away.”
Uecker ended up needing surgery on the bite. The doctor had to first cut away inflected flesh, which could have led to necrosis or other dangerous side effects if it wasn't treated, the Journal Sentinel reported.
Uecker joked the surgery wound was not an attractive look, showing reporters the stomach-churning photos.
“It has to heal from the inside out, so they left it open,” Uecker said. “That took five weeks. I couldn’t believe it. Then, they told me I had a MRSA problem [a bacterial infection from the wound that is difficult to treat with regular antibiotics]. So, they put me on a different medication for the next three weeks.
Uecker has had a number of health scares in the past, including an aortal aneurysm in 1991 and a leaking aortic valve in 2009. He also had his pancreas removed in 2009 after a scan found he had tumors on the organ.
Uecker’s leaky heart valve got worse in 2011 pushing him to get a valve replacement. The broadcaster’s surgery did not go well after a staph infection formed, tearing the new valve. He had to undergo surgery again to replace the new valve. Despite the infection, Uecker returned to work and was able to see the Brewers reach the playoffs.
“I know I’m lucky. I’ve had 11 major surgeries overall. But, through all of that stuff, I made some unbelievable friends. All those doctors at Froedtert. We’re all friends now. So, a lot of good came out of it,” Uecker said. “What are you going to do? You have to do what they say. Those guys saved my life. They put you under and that’s all you know.”
Uecker, who is about to begin his 63rd year in baseball, hopes to call about 100 games and doesn't plan to let a spider get in the way of his career.
“I’ll still do a few games on the road. Some places, I miss. Over that amount of time, you meet a lot of people and make a lot of friends. But doing 100 games, that’s enough,” he said.