Joba Chamberlain

Joba Chamberlain

Infobox MLB player
name=Joba Chamberlain

position=Starting pitcher
team=New York Yankees
birthdate=birth date and age|1985|9|23
debutdate=August 7
debutteam=New York Yankees
statyear=2008 season
stat2label=Earned run average
*New York Yankees (by|2007-present)

Joba Chamberlain (pronounced IPA| [ˈdʒɑːbə] "jah-buh") (born Justin Louis Heath [ Joba's mother talks about her son and her life - Lincoln Journal Star] ] on September 23, 1985 in Lincoln, Nebraska) is a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees.

Early life

Chamberlain grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. Chamberlain's parents, Harlan Chamberlain and Jackie Standley, were never married and split up when Joba was 18 months old. Some sources say that Harlan obtained full custody of Joba when Joba was 3 years old, [ Nothing is insurmountable - Omaha World-Herald] ] but Standley claims that Joba lived with her most of the time until Joba was 10 when she had Joba's surname legally changed from Heath, her maiden name, to Chamberlain. Standley began abusing drugs when Joba was 4 or 5 and says that she and Joba currently speak to each other only rarely.

Chamberlain's father was born on a reservation for the Winnebago American Indian Tribe, but had to leave to be treated for polio. [ Joba The Hot - New York Post] ] Harlan spent his childhood in hospitals and foster homes and now uses a motor scooter (which he has named "Humphrey") to get around. Now retired from his job as a supervisor at the state penitentiary, he works as a substitute teacher and takes tickets at University of Nebraska Cornhuskers' games. Chamberlain still has family living on American Indian reservations.

When Joba (then Justin) was a little boy, his two-year-old cousin was unable to pronounce her brother (Joba's other cousin) Joshua's name correctly, pronouncing it as Joba instead. Harlan Chamberlain heard this and liked the nickname, so he began referring to Justin (instead of cousin Joshua) as Joba. Harlan said the name was "dynamic." Joba agreed, and eventually had his name legally changed.

Joba served as a ball boy and bat boy for Lincoln Northeast High School's state championship baseball team, and eventually graduated from Northeast. He did not jump straight to college; to help pay the bills, Joba briefly worked for the city of Lincoln's maintenance department.

He played American Legion baseball over the summer of 2004 for Coach Steve Eckman, going 4-4 with a 1.36 ERA, as he struck out 137 hitters and walked only 21 en route to all-state honors. He recorded 21 strikeouts over 12 shutout innings in a matchup against future fellow Nebraska star Johnny Dorn’s team, a 15-inning game won by Grand Island, 1-0. He also hit .505 with 11 homers, 11 doubles and 37 RBIs as a two-way performer. At Lincoln Northeast High School for coaches Bill Fagler and Doug Kaltenberger he garnered second-team Super State honors from the Lincoln Journal Star, going 3-2 with a 3.35 ERA, as he struck out 29 in 31.1 innings as a senior.

College baseball

Chamberlain started his college career playing for the University of Nebraska-Kearney Lopers under coach Damon Day, leading the team in ERA (5.23), opponents batting average (.250), strikeouts (49), and complete games (4) in just 8 starts as a freshman, before transferring to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He helped the Cornhuskers reach the 2005 College World Series and helped lead Nebraska to their first ever College World Series win, going 10–2 with a 2.81 ERA for the year; his by|2005 stats included 5 double-digit strikeout games. Triceps tendinitis limited his by|2006 season but he still pitched in 14 games, posting a 6-5 record, a 3.93 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 89.1 innings.

Minor leagues

Chamberlain was drafted 41st overall by the New York Yankees in the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft; the Yankees received that draft pick as free agent compensation for Tom Gordon, who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Chamberlain did not pitch in the organized minors during the 2006 season, but dominated the winter league in Hawaii, posting a 2.63 ERA for the West Oahu CaneFires.

Before the by|2007 season, Baseball America ranked Chamberlain as the 4th-best prospect in the pitching-rich Yankee organization, and the 75th-best prospect in Major League Baseball, and ranked his fastball as the best in the Yankee farm system.

He spent the first part of his 2007 season on the Single-A Advanced Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League. He went 4–0 with a 2.03 ERA in 7 games, and had 51 strikeouts and 11 walks. He was then promoted to the Double-A Trenton Thunder in the Eastern League, where he was 4–2 in 7 games with a 3.43 ERA and 64 strikeouts. He was named to the U.S. Team in the 2007 All-Star Futures Game July 8 at AT&T Park. Chamberlain pitched the third inning, striking out one, walking one, and allowing a hit and an earned run. On July 24, 2007, Chamberlain was promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and made his first start the next day, striking out 10 in 5 innings and earning his first Triple-A victory. While the Yankees still saw him as a starter in the future, the team announced on July 29, 2007, that Chamberlain would be moved to the Scranton-Wilkes Barre bullpen, and he made his first appearance the next day, striking out the side in 1 inning pitched and hitting 100 on the radar gun three times. On August 1, Joba went back to Trenton to make a relief appearance, striking out 2 batters in a 1-2-3 8th inning. He then came back to Scranton, pitching 2 innings and striking out 5 batters.

Major leagues


On August 7, mlby|2007, the Yankees purchased Chamberlain's contract, elevating him to the major leagues for the first time in his career. To make room on their roster, the Yankees designated Miguel Cairo for assignment, and sent down Brian Bruney (coinciding with the activation of Jason Giambi) [ [ Sports Section ] ] [ [ The Official Site of The New York Yankees: News: Notes: Yanks call up Chamberlain ] ] In his debut, a Yankees victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, Chamberlain struck out the first batter he faced and went on to pitch two scoreless innings, striking out two. The television and stadium radar guns clocked his fastest pitch at 100 and 99 miles per hour, respectively, with his slider consistently registering at 87.

Chamberlain's usage in games was initially restricted by what were referred to as "Joba Rules," which prevented him from pitching on consecutive days and gave him an additional day of rest for each inning pitched in an outing.

On August 30, 2007, Chamberlain threw two pitches over the head of Boston's Kevin Youkilis. Chamberlain was subsequently ejected for the first time in his baseball career. The next day, he was suspended for two games and fined $1,000 for the incident.

Chamberlain had an extraordinary experience when he was "bugged" in game 2 of the 2007 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians. The game took place at Jacobs Field (in Cleveland) on October 5. With the Yankees leading 1-0, Chamberlain was pitching in the bottom of the eighth when a host of small insects swarmed the field. [ [ The Official Site of The New York Yankees: News: Insects a nuisance at ALDS ] ] He was repeatedly sprayed down with insecticide, which had no apparent deterrent effect on the midges. Chamberlain then threw a wild pitch, permitting Grady Sizemore to advance from first to second base. After a sacrifice bunt, Sizemore moved up to third base and, after another wild pitch by Chamberlain, Sizemore scored the tying run. The Indians went on to win the game 2–1.

On October 14, Hank Steinbrenner announced that Chamberlain would begin mlby|2008 spring training as a starting pitcher, but will limit his innings. [ [ The Official Site of The New York Yankees: News: Chamberlain to return to familiar role ] ]


On March 20, 2008, the Yankees announced that Chamberlain would start the season in the bullpen. Manager Joe Girardi stated that Chamberlain would be used 'without restrictions' but that the team's use of Chamberlain would be guided by common sense.

Chamberlain was granted a leave of absence on April 13, 2008, when he received news that his father, Harlan, was in the hospital after collapsing at his home in Lincoln, Nebraska. [ [ The Official Site of The New York Yankees: News: Joba leaves Yanks to be with father ] ] At the time of his leave, Joba had a record of 1–0, with a 0.00 ERA and six strikeouts, and has 3 holds in 4 games and 5 1/3 innings pitched.Chamberlain returned from the bereavement in time for the 2nd game against the Baltimore Orioles on April 19, 2008. On April 20, Hank Steinbrenner announced that he wanted Chamberlain to be moved into the rotation. [ [ Joba to return tonight] ]

On May 6, Chamberlain gave up a three run home run to David Dellucci to give up the lead to the Indians in the 8th. This was the first time he had given up a run at Yankee Stadium in over 15 innings in the regular season.

On May 21, Chamberlain threw two scoreless innings and 35 pitches in an 8-0 victory against the Orioles. After the game, Girardi announced that this was the beginning of a process to transition Chamberlain into the Yankee's starting rotation, and that he will be a member of the starting rotation at some point during the 2008 season. On June 3, Chamberlain made his first MLB start against Roy Halladay and the Toronto Blue Jays and lasted only 2 1/3 innings while allowing 2 runs, a hit and 4 walks. One June 25, Chamberlain earned his first career win as a starter, throwing 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, en route to a 10-0 Yankees victory.

On July 25, Chamberlain threw 7 shutout innings (the longest single outing of his major-league career) against the Red Sox allowing only 3 hits and striking out 9. The Yankees won the game 1-0.

On August 4, Chamberlain injured his shoulder in a game against the Texas Rangers and was only expected to miss one start, [] but he was placed on the 15-day disabled list two days later after visiting orthopedic surgeon James Andrews, with rotator cuff tendinitis. [cite web |url=|title= Chamberlain placed on DL; Kennedy to start vs. Angels|accessdate=2008-08-06 |work= |publisher= ESPN|date= 2008-08-06] Chamberlain said that he expected to return to the rotation before the end of the month [Citation |last= |first= |title=Joba expects to return this month |url= |publisher=Fox Sports |date=2008-08-08 |accessdate=2008-08-08] , but he was sidelined until September 2, when he returned in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays pitching 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

When Chamberlain takes the mound, he begins with a private prayer ritual which he began doing in Little League. The Yankee Stadium scoreboard staff plays Mötley Crüe's "Shout at the Devil" whenever Chamberlain enters a game.

couting Report

When pitching out of the bullpen, his fastball is known to sit in the upper 90's while occasionally topping 101mph with tailing action. His slider rates over 70 on the 20–80 scouting scale and has caused batters to swing and miss 75% of the time.

When pitching as a starter, he makes use of an above average change-up and a mid to high 70s plus-curve, along with his fastball and slider. His fastball will sit in the 94–99 mph range when Joba pitches as a starter. [cite book | title = Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2007 | publisher = Simon & Schuster | year = 2007 | pages = 308 | isbn = 978-1-932391-14-5]


*2005 3rd Team All-American
*2005 1st Team All Big 12
*2005 Big 12 Newcomer Pitcher of the Year
*2005 2nd Team All Midwest Region
*2005 Big 12 Pitcher of the Week (2005-03-01)
*2005 National Pitcher of the Week (2005-01-03)
*2005 Big 12 Pitcher of the Week (2005-04-25)
*2006 1st Team Preseason All-American
*2006 Hawaiian Winter Post-Season All-Star
*2007 FSL Pitcher of the Week (2007-05-14)
*2007 FSL Pitcher of the Week (2007-05-28)
*2007 EL Pitcher of the Week (2007-06-18)

In 2007, Chamberlain was featured on the cover of an issue of ESPN the Magazine, being named as being "Next," or being the most likely young sports player to become a star.



* []
* []
* [ "Nothing is Insurmountable" - Omaha World-Herald]
* [ Joba the Hot - New York Post]
* [ Young guns aim for the Bronx - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees:News]
* [ Yankees promote Chamberlain - Lincoln Journal Star]
* [ Here's Joba - NY POST]
* [ Serby's Sunday Q&A with Joba Chamberlain]
* [ Joba's First MLB Interview - Audio file on blog]
* [ The Joba Chamberlain Era Begins]
* [ What's Love got to do with it? - Sports Illustrated - October 4, 2007]

External links

* [ Minor League Baseball stats]
* [ Joba Chamberlain Scouting Report]

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