A lithe, take-charge catcher, Allanson’s handling of the 1986 Cleveland pitching staff was in part responsible for the Indians’ resurgent, 84-78 mark. He was named the Topps All-Rookie catcher. Despite his size (6’5″, 220 lbs), Allanson didn’t homer until his 1,025th pro at-bat, in the Kingdome that June 23. The Indians, feeling they were perhaps a better-hitting, veteran catcher away from contention, signed Rick Dempsey for 1987, demoting Allanson. Cleveland finished dead last (61-101), and Allanson was again the starting catcher in 1988.
The acquisition of Joel Skinner before the 1989 season again cut into Allanson’s playing time, and when the team traded for Sandy Alomar, Jr. in December 1989 it was clear Allanson’s starting days were over. He was released the following spring, and spent 1990 in the minors. Over the next five years Allanson saw only sporadic major-league action with four different clubs.