Who is this? Luke Allen, a former outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies
What is this? An autographed card from the 2003 Topps Total set
Where'd I get it? I got it signed in person at a Somerset Patriots game in 2007.
How much did it cost? The card most likely came from a pack; the autograph was free.
Why is this so special? Luke Allen beat the odds. He was not a high-round draft pick. He wasn't drafted at all. He was just an amateur free agent with nothing invested in him.
Allen worked his way up through the Dodgers farm system and finally made his major league debut in 2002. His Dodger career included just six games, but he did get one hit -- a double.
That off-season, the Dodgers traded Allen to the Colorado Rockies for his future teammate on the Somerset Patriots, Jason Romano. Allen would get another two major league at-bats with the Rockies in 2003, but he'd never play in the majors again.
The Rockies released him at the end of the season. He played five different minor league organizations, two American independent leagues and Mexican baseball before ending his career after the 2008 season.
In 30 games with the Somerset Patriots in 2007, Allen hit .260 with five home runs and 9 RBI. He also managed to talk Sparky Lyle into letting him pitch in one of the last home games of the season.
If I recall correctly, he came into the game with a decent, but not huge lead. I think he retired the first two batters to face him. I know he got one strikeout. But once the hitters had seen his stuff, they began to hit him. He walked a batter and gave up a pair of hits, so Lyle had to take him out of the game before the inning was over. Allen was charged with two runs, although only one was earned.
Luke Allen has a unique autograph. The only letter that I recognize is the "A" in his last name, but his autograph is instantly recognizable if you are familiar with it.