Jeff Allison's Re-Renewed Sense Of Purpose Comes From Hamilton

Jeff Allison, the 23-year-old pitcher buried in the Florida Marlins farm system is destined to hear the Josh Hamilton comparisons throughout the rest of his career. Like Hamilton, Allison was a highly-touted prospect, a high school pitching phenom, who's been featured in more fall-from-grace stories than positive ones in his disappointing, drug-addled career. Allison, now a pitcher for the Single-A Jupiter Hammerheads, is keeping a close eye on Hamilton during this All-Star game. It's all he's got, really.

In the five years he's struggled in the minor leagues, he's had plenty of "he's turned the corner" moments, only to quickly stumble off the wagon and return to hopelessness.

The Boston Herald contacted Allison on the phone last night before Hamilton jaw-dropped the world with his first round Derby performance, just to see what he was feeling. Hope, of course. And sadness. Amazingly, Allison and Hamilton have yet to meet.

Josh Hamilton was where I am now. And I know that when he was in my situation a couple of years ago, he had some motivation behind him. I know if I ever meet him, I’ll have a few questions for him. For now, I’m going to watch the All-Star Game and it’s going to mean a lot to me to see Josh Hamilton on the field. I remember last year, when he got a standing ovation when he got his first hit, and it meant so much to me. I choked a little bit. It brought chills down my spine.

It's highly unlikely that Allison will bounce-back from his heroin addiction and live up to his golden-armed promise of 2003. His unspectacular numbers in single-A this season don't have him on the fast-track to the bigs anytime soon, but that's not the only thing that's important to him right now. "If Josh Hamilton can make it, I can make it, " he told the Herald. You get the sense that he wasn't just talking about baseball with that statement.

Jeff Allison Finds Inspiration [Boston Herald]

'I'm Proof That Hope Is Never Lost' [ESPN]