Hall of Famers O’Shea, Calvillo have a Ticat history

The man Hamilton Tiger-Cats fans love to hate is going into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

So is the quarterback that got away.

Canadian linebacker Mike O’Shea, who twice spurned the Ticats for the Toronto Argonauts, and quarterback Anthony Calvillo – who was cut by the team after the 1997 season before going on to stardom with the Montreal Alouettes – are part of the 2017 class of inductees announced Wednesday night.

Also included are Calgary Stampeders running back Kelvin Anderson and B.C. Lions receiver Geroy Simon in the player category. In the builder category, longtime administrator Stan Schwartz and the recently-retired coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, Brian Towriss, have been selected.

After being selected by Edmonton as the fourth overall pick in 1993, O’Shea was traded to the Ticats as part of a package that sent another hall of famer, Damon Allen, to the Eskimos.

He spent three seasons with Hamilton then signed with the Argonauts after a short stint in the NFL.

Traded back to Hamilton in 2000, O’Shea once again chose to return to Toronto after just one season and he played eight more years in the Double Blue. His decision to leave the Ticats for their arch rivals not just once made him the object of scorn every time he returned to Ivor Wynne Stadium.

“Batteries and money didn’t hurt but warm milk was never good, ” O’Shea told The Spectator in 2014. “Warm milk on a hot day. Thrown on you.”

O’Shea, now the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, ranks second all-time with 1,151 defensive tackles, and is seventh on the of CFL list for special-team tackles with 169. He won three Grey Cup championships (1996, ’97 and 2004), all with Toronto.

Calvillo played three seasons with the Tiger-Cats starting in 1995 and finished 2-16 in his final season before being released.

He joined the Alouettes the following year as a backup and went on to become the CFL’s and pro football’s all-time leading passer with 79,816 yards.

He was the East Division’s Most Outstanding Player seven times, the CFL’s MOP three times and won three Grey Cups, all with the Alouettes.

“When he went to Montreal I thought he would be a good starting quarterback, ” Don Sutherin, Calvillo’s Ticat head coach, told The Spectator in 2014. “But I didn’t think he’d be one of the greatest in CFL history.”

This marks the fourth straight year the Hall of Fame class does not include a Ticat player.

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