Former MLB pitcher Anthony Varvaro dies in car crash on way to 9/11 memorial

Anthony Varvaro, a former Major League Baseball pitcher who retired in 2016 to become a New York-area police officer, was killed in a car accident Sunday morning on his way to work during the 9/11 memorial ceremony in Manhattan, according to police and his former teams.

Varvaro, 37, was an officer with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He played baseball at St. John’s before a six-year major league career as a relief pitcher with the Seattle Mariners, Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Braves pitcher Anthony Varvaro,” the Braves said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and colleagues.”

The crash happened Sunday morning in New Jersey. Messages requesting details of the crash were left with New Jersey State Police.

St. John’s baseball coach Mike Hampton said he was “at a loss for words” about Varvaro’s death.

“Not only was he everything you could want in a baseball player, he was everything you could want in a person,” said Hampton, who served as an assistant coach at St. John’s for all three seasons of Varvaro there. “My heart goes out to his family, friends, teammates and fellow officers.”

Port Authority officials said in a statement that Varvaro “represented the best of this agency, and his courage and commitment to service will be remembered.”

“On this solemn occasion as the Port Authority mourns the loss of 84 employees in the attacks on the World Trade Center – including 37 members of the Port Authority Police Department – ​​our grief only grows worse today with the passing of Officer Varvaro,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Executive Director Rick Cotton said in a statement.

Raised in Staten Island, New York, Varvaro was drafted by Seattle in the 12th round in 2005. He played for the Mariners in 2010 and Atlanta from 2011 to 2014.

Varvaro was traded to the Red Sox in late 2014 and pitched 11 innings for Boston at the start of the 2015 season. In May 2015, the Chicago Cubs claimed him from Boston waivers, but sent him back to the Reds. Sox after tests showed he had an elbow injury in his right arm, which resulted in season-ending surgery.

For his major league career, Varvaro pitched 183⅔ innings in 166 games, compiling a 3.23 ERA, 150 strikeouts and one save.

In 2016, he appeared in 18 games for Boston’s top minor league affiliate before retiring in June and beginning police training.

Varvaro, who studied criminal justice at St. John’s and graduated in 2005, told student newspaper The Torch in December 2016 that he learned about policing jobs at the Port Authority while attending to the majors.

“I figured I had a pretty successful career in baseball, I had played a few seasons and I was going to be fine with the next stage of my life,” he told the newspaper.

Port Authority officials said Varvaro became a police officer in December 2016 and served on patrol for nearly five years before transferring to the Port Authority Police Academy to become an instructor.



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