Ex-MLB Player Who Retired to Become a Police Officer Killed on His Way to 9/11 Memorial Ceremony

Former MLB pitcher Anthony Varvaro, who became an officer with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department after his retirement from baseball, was killed Sunday as he drove to a 9/11 commemoration ceremony in Manhattan.

Varvaro, 37, died when a Toyota RAV4 going the wrong way struck his Nissan Maxima, Charles Marchan, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Police, said in a statement, according to The New York Times.

Both drivers were killed in the 4:30 a.m. accident.

Varvaro pitched for the Seattle Mariners, Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox in an MLB career that lasted from 2010 through 2015.

Even while playing, he showed an interest in a law enforcement career with the Port Authority, taking the tests during the offseason, according to ESPN.

Varvaro began work as a Port Authority police officer in 2016 before shifting to become an instructor at the Port Authority Police Academy in 2021.

“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,” the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said in a statement, according to the Times.

He leaves behind a wife and four children.

“Words cannot express our heartbreak,” Varvaro’s family said in a statement.

Frank Conti, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, said the union was “shocked and saddened” by Varvaro’s death, according to the New York Post.

“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.”

Conti said that after Varvaro was assigned to the Port Authority’s World Trade Center Command, “patrolling the sacred grounds of the World Trade Center,” the former baseball player said he was “honored” to work that detail.

He recalled Varvaro telling him, “It really hit home — I knew many who died here.”

Varvaro had wanted to work that detail, he told ESPN in 2017.

“To be able to work at that specific location, you know, going back, you know, to the day of Sept. 11, you know, 2001 — I feel like I’m honoring, you know, everyone who, you know, lost their lives that day,” he said then.

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The Atlanta Braves posted a notice of Varvaro’s death on Twitter.

“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,” the post said.

“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 team said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and colleagues.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.