For as much scorn and criticism that he faced during his tenure as one of the greatest managers in Major League Baseball history, Tony La Russa’s post-baseball career hasn’t gotten him nearly enough of the attention that he deserves. To be fair, La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation has been saving stray dogs and cats for more than two decades, but now that he doesn’t have that whole winning World Series with baseball’s scrappiest of players interfering, he has a lot more time to devote to the kitties and puppies.
The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay caught up with the legendary Cardinals (and other teams, I guess) coach recently to retell the story of how one cat in Oakland, California gave the surly ol’ grump a new purpose in life back in 1990. Twenty-three years later, Bianca La Russa’s dad currently has 17 cats living in his home, and he wuvs every widdle wast one of them.
“A lot of men, they don’t even want to try [cats] because they don’t think it’s macho,” he said. It was Wednesday morning, and La Russa, who retired from managing the St. Louis Cardinals after they won the 2011 World Series, was headed to a meeting in New York to discuss baseball’s replay rules. “But I have cats that just jump up in my arms when I come home.”
“If a cat falls in love with you, you know you have passed a sterner test,” La Russa said.
La Russa said there were 17 cats at the moment at his home in the Bay Area, all of them rescued. Now let’s be clear: Only a handful were permanent members of the La Russa clan. The rest were foster cats, ones the La Russas were caring for temporarily until they could be placed in homes. Still, La Russa could name them, even the newcomers. It took a couple of minutes, a few pauses, but he ticked them off, one by one, as if running down a lineup card.
“Skye, Pearl, Slash—named after a rock ‘n’ roll guitarist—Sophia, Maggie, Jack—my daughter found him in the parking lot of a Jack in the Box—Stella, Sierra, Kachina, Lakota, Fergus, Dexter—he’s very precocious—Misha, Cammie, Eddie, Patchy, Pawnee.”
Yes: That is all 17. Yes: It sounded as amazing as it reads. (Via Wall Street Journal)
If that cat named Pawnee is named after Parks and Recreation, then my adoration for La Russa will be even greater than it was when he led the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011. But until that is determined, I’ll have to simply demand more articles about La Russa saving dogs because dogs >>>>>>> cats. The end.