Joba Chamberlain as Lenny Pike

Joba Chamberlain has been a personal favorite ever since his sizzling debut in 2007. There is just something about the guy that makes me root for him. But in the entire time he has been with the Yankees, it has always been at the back of my mind that he reminds me of somebody. For years, I could not put my finger on who it was. The round face, the straight-billed cap, his sometimes blank looking expression all hearkened back to someone from my past. I gave up a long time ago of figuring out who it was.

And then Jonathan Winters died recently. Winters had been a guy that has made me laugh for decades on end. To celebrate Winters’ life, I took a stroll on YouTube to see if I could watch some video of Winters in action. And then it struck me. When Winters played Lenny Pike in It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, his performance was the highlight of a movie I enjoyed as a boy seeing in a drive-in movie theater. So I clicked on the video and watched. And there before me was the answer to what Joba Chamberlain’s looks brought back for me.

I hope you do not think that I am mocking Joba Chamberlain. I am sure that whatever mental picture his image brings is quite different from who the real man is. But we get to watch him a lot and his looks lead to an image and that image may be unfair, but it is what it is. Here is a side by side comparison of our image of Joba next to Jonathan Winters as Lenny Pike:

032412-joba-chamberlain

 

And just to give you a little better sense of what I am seeing, here is the YouTube clip that brought about my epiphany. Who knows, you may not see it. But it is my mind and I am sticking with it.

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.