A former MLB player who retired from the major leagues to become a police officer died Sunday while on his way to the 9/11 memorial in New York City.
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Anthony Varvaro, 37, served as a relief pitcher for the Seattle Mariners, Atlanta Braves, and Boston Red Sox for six years before leaving baseball in 2016 to become a cop for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ.com reported.
Varvaro, a husband and father of four, tragically died Sunday in a car accident while on his way to the World Trade Center memorial. A Toyota RAV4 going the wrong way reportedly collided with his Nissan Maxima, killing both drivers.
The Port Authority issued a statement praising Varvaro’s character and expressing sadness over his passing.
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.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 11, 2022
He voluntarily retired from MLB in 2016 to become a Port Authority police officer. pic.twitter.com/YSoisa79o4
“The entire Port Authority family is heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of Officer Anthony Varvaro,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said in a statement, adding the officer “represented the very best of this agency” and “will be remembered for his courage and commitment to service.”
Mike Hampton, head coach of St. John’s University’s baseball team, where Varvaro played before the major leagues, also issued a statement heralding Varvaro’s character and his talents.
“Not only was he everything you could want out of a ball player, he was everything you could want in a person,” Hampton said. “My heart goes out to his family, friends, teammates, and fellow officers.”
We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Red Sox pitcher Anthony Varvaro.— Red Sox (@RedSox) September 11, 2022
We send our sincerest condolences to the Varvaro family. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/fQTgpswhQP
Varvaro’s family released a message as well, proclaiming, “Words cannot express our heartbreak and how much we will miss Anthony.”
The heartbroken family said the ex-MLB player “cherished every moment spent with friends and family.”
One of the most unique facets of Varvaro’s story, of course, is the second career he chose to have after baseball. He had always wanted to be a police officer, but gravitated toward baseball after realizing his abilities, according to The New York Times.
Watch Varvaro share with ESPN his journey to becoming an officer:
It wasn’t until some injuries and elbow surgeries during his MLB days caused him to revisit his plan of becoming a cop.
“I had to decide if I wanted to keep on playing or move on to a second profession,” Varvaro said in 2017.
RIP PAPD PO Anthony Varvaro, EOW 9/11/22.— Port Authority PBA (@PAPD911) September 11, 2022
PO Varvaro was killed by a wrong-way driver while reporting to a PAPD 9/11 WTC detail. He served the PAPD 6 years, was 37 & survived by his wife & 4 children.
Anthony, rest in the Lord’s eternal embrace. Always Honored, Never Forgotten pic.twitter.com/6U2LmUASLy
So, he embarked on a journey to become a police officer and recognized his dream of working as a patrol officer at One World Trade Center.
“To be able to work at that specific location, you know, going back to the day of Sept. 11 of 2001 — I feel like I’m honoring, you know, everyone who lost their lives that day,” Varvaro said.
Pray for his family and loved ones as they mourn this tragic loss.
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