Dog lovers are rampant throughout professional sports. Cats have intervened in more MLB contests than any other sport, but one incident that went unnoticed changed Tony La Russa. Nearly two years into his retirement, the former St. Louis Cardinals manager has taken his affinity for felines to a whole new level.

His off-duty animal welfare activism has been well-documented over the years. La Russa founded an animal rescue foundation in 1991called ARF after a cat walked up to him in the dugout when he was the Oakland A's manager. With that said, nobody knew the extent to which it went.

Via Wall Street Journal:

 

"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."

I wonder if he has an ARF shelter cat on standby whenever another cat goes missing or uses up its ninth life. With a few more free agent shelter acquisitions, LaRussa will have enough cats to name after the Cardinals entire active roster.