From the CFL to the IBL, The Damon Allen Story
1993 brought a bright spot for the Cardinals with the addition of Canadian Football League quarterback, Damon Allen to their roster. It was not a publicity stunt by the team owners to put more people in the stands. It was at the request of Allen, who needed high calibre practice times and game action to prepare for his spring audition with the National League Pittsburgh Pirates.
Damon had been an outstanding football player at California State University, Fullerton, and an equally great baseball player. He helped the Titans win the 1984 College World Series, and led his team to a regular-season won-lost record of 66-20. Allen was selected by the 1984 World Series champion Detroit Tigers in the 1984 Major League Baseball Draft; however, he did not sign with the Tigers.
On Tuesday, June 22, 1993, he inked a tryout contract with the Pirates. Damon reported to their Spring Training Camp at Bradenton, FL in 1994. Ultimately, Allen left the Pirates camp and returned to the CFL, and the Edmonton Eskimos.
In mid-May of 1993, Cardinals manager Barry Hutton said he was happy to have Allen in the Cardinals lineup even if it was only for a few games. Damon had been working out with the team, both indoors and outdoors during the past month.
The Cards were scheduled to play their next three games at home against the Kitchener Panthers, Stratford Hillers, and London Majors before Allen was slated to leave the club to showcase his talents for the Pirates and sign with them.
Allen gave up one unearned run to the Brantford Red Sox on May 17, 1993, as the Cards pounded them 13-2. Brantford scored first, but Hamilton came back to tie the score in the bottom of the first inning. The Cards built a 10-1 lead before the former Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback made his Intercounty mound debut in the fifth.
While his Intercounty career was shortlived, Damon posted a 1.13 Earned Run Average in two games, one of which resulted in a victory. He pitched eight innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits and three walks. He struck out six batters, hit one batter, and gave up one home run. He did not bat because of the League’s use of the Designated Hitter.
On March 23, 1994, during his brief stint in Pittsburgh spring training action, Allen retired former National Basketball Association star Michael Jordan (0-for-4), and Chicago’s Double-A Birmingham club farmhand, on a second-inning strikeout. Damon, a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, was the starting pitcher for the Pittsburgh Double-A Carolina team in the game.