A former Major League Baseball pitcher quite the sport to become a New York police was killed on Sunday in a head-on crash while on his way to work at the 9/11 Memorial Service in Manhattan. Former MLB pitcher-turned-New York police officer Anthony Varvaro died of his injuries suffered during a head-on car crash.
Police officials and his former baseball teams confirmed the tragic news on Sunday. He is survived by his wife and four children. Varvaro, a 37-year-old former MLB pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves, switched to law enforcement in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2016.
Died on Duty
According to the Daily Voice, Varvaro was killed when a wrong-way driver struck his automobile close to exit 14C near the Holland Tunnel on Sunday evening while he was on his way to work at the 9/11 Memorial Service in Manhattan.
According to a statement from the Braves, Varvaro was en route to assist at the World Trade Center Command as police remembered victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Revealing the news on Twitter, the Atlanta Braves wrote: "We are deeply saddened on the passing of former Braves pitcher Anthony Varvaro. Anthony, 37, played parts of six seasons in the majors, including four with Atlanta."
"He voluntarily retired from MLB in 2016 to become a Port Authority police officer.
"He was en route to serve at the World Trade Center Command in commemoration of September 11, 2001 activities when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident," the statement further read.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and colleagues."
Chairman of the Port Authority Kevin O'Toole and Executive Director of the Port Authority Rick Cotton issued a statement to the Voice writing: "Officer Varvaro represented the very best of this agency, and will be remembered for his courage and commitment to service."
"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 deepens today with the passing of Officer Varvaro."
Leaving Everyone Shocked
Varvaro, a married father of four, eventually rose to the position of instructor at the department's police academy, according to the American Police Beat magazine. In a statement Sunday, Frank Conti, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, said the union was "shocked and saddened" by the veteran cop's tragic death.
"Anthony's life was taken from us as he prepared to honor the lives of the 37 Port Authority police officers who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center," Conti said. "Police Officer Anthony Varvaro will always be honored and never forgotten."
He called Varvaro "a child of Staten Island, where he grew up among the families of fallen 9/11 police officers and firefighters."
Port Authority's World Trade Center Command, where he was responsible for "patrolling the sacrosanct grounds of the World Trade Center," according to the union representative.
Conti remembered Varvaro once expressing his "honor" at being a part of the team.
According to authorities, the driver of the car that struck him was going the wrong way at the time, according to the Daily Voice of New Jersey.
Varvaro, who was a pillar of the local community, was named president of the Snug Harbor Little League on the borough's North Shore in 2021, according to the Staten Island magazine SILive. He is alleged to have advocated for league facility updates, including nighttime lighting for games.