Lives of 38,000 Animals Saved After Cat Sprints Across Baseball Field 28 Years Ago


It was May of 1990 when the Oakland A’s faced the New York Yankees in what ended up as a historic game of baseball, for a very non-baseball reason. The crowd watched in surprise when out of nowhere, a cat made a desperate run across the baseball field, looking for a place to hide.

The dark-haired cat ended up in Oakland manager Tony La Russa’s dugout. Feeling sorry for the scared, vulnerable animal, La Russa decided to take her home.

“I named her Evie, after the wife of the late A’s owner Walter Haas, and my life hasn’t been the same since,” La Russa told Sports Illustrated in 1997.

Once he brought Evie home, La Russa began looking for a local animal rescue organization that might be able to help Evie find an adoptive home.

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What he found left him deeply troubled: The San Francisco Bay area had zero no-kill shelters. Rather than surrender Evie, La Russa and his wife, Elaine, adopted her.

Evie became the accidental catalyst for much-needed change. La Russa and his wife decided their local animals deserved better, and founded a no-kill animal rescue organization.

Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation has saved some 38,000 lives since its inception in 1991. Time and time again, La Russa gives all the credit to Evie, who turned him into a soft-hearted cat lover.

Over the years, La Russa has welcomed cats into his home as foster care placements and permanent household members. He’s used to being greeted by a flurry of felines when he walks in the door.

“A lot of men, they don’t even want to try (cats) because they don’t think it’s macho,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “But I have cats that just jump up in my arms when I come home.”

On social media, animal lovers have written to share their own adoption stories, which came about because of ARF. Photos of happy cats and dogs with their forever families are plastered all over Facebook, thanks to the La Russa family.

“So thankful for Tony, Elaine and ARF,” wrote Sharon Peterson. “I don’t know what my life would be like without Willa who is my Boxer from ARF, formerly known as Juno (ARF name).”

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Animal lovers can relate! Today is a good day to hug your fur baby a little tighter.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Page, Arizona
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Phoenix, Arizona
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