Often, bench coach Gene Lamont was taking out the lineup card. In the midst of the Tigers' struggles last week, Chamberlain asked him if he could do it.
"I was like, 'Hey, let me take it,' because usually a coach takes it," Chamberlain said. "Let me try it out. [Lamont] said if we don't win today you take it out tomorrow. And we didn't win."
He brought out the lineup card for last Thursday's series finale against the Royals, and the Tigers ended their skid. That started a winning streak that had reached six, entering Thursday.
"Hey, so far, so good," Chamberlain said. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
It's a superstition that has become a social activity for Chamberlain. His visits are usually followed by a chat with the umpiring crew. Sometimes, it's just conversation. Other times, it's a joke.
"I'll drop a joke in there every once in a while," he said. "I mean, I've been around long enough so I kind of know all the umpires."
Said manager Brad Ausmus: "I know he usually tries to have a joke ready. I asked him a couple times what the joke was."
Chamberlain said he brought out the lineup card one time during his seven-year tenure with the Yankees. It happened last season, he said, and he brought it out with Andy Pettitte.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.