Former Atlanta Braves Pitcher Turned Police Officer Anthony Varvaro Killed in a Car Accident
Anthony Varvaro, a former MLB pitcher who became a police officer with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2016, was killed in a car accident early Sunday morning while making his way to the 9/11 memorial in New York City. He is survived by his wife, Kerry Thomson, and their four children.
Varvaro’s car was struck in Hudson County, New Jersey, a short distance from the Holland Tunnel, which connects Jersey City, New Jersey and Lower Manhattan near One World Trade Center and the 9/11 memorial. According to the New York Times, Varvaro was killed at 4:30 AM when he was hit by a wrong-way driver, Henry Plazas, who was also killed in the crash.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released a statement reading, “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 former MLB player’s family added, “Words cannot express our heartbreak and how much we will miss Anthony.”
They continued, “We are together today remembering Anthony’s accomplishments on the field and his service with the P.A.P.D. But more importantly, how the little things were so much bigger to him, and he cherished every moment spent with friends and family.”
According to ESPN, Varvaro was raised on Staten Island, one of the five boroughs that comprises New York City. Varvaro was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2005, playing minor league ball until 2010 before he was claimed by the Atlanta Braves in 2011. He played with the Braves until 2014, where he then played two seasons with the Boston Red Sox before retiring in 2016.
“We are deeply saddened on the passing of former Braves pitcher Anthony Varvaro,” said the Atlanta Braves in a message of condolence. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and colleagues.” He was also mourned by his former coach, Mike Hampton, from St. John’s University, where he played three seasons.
“Not only was he everything you could want out of a ballplayer, he was everything you could want in a person,” he said, per The Sun. “My heart goes out to his family, friends, teammates and fellow officers.”
In a 2016 interview with his alma mater, St. John’s University, where he graduated in 2005 after studying criminal justice, Varvaro explained his decision to join the Port Authority police force, saying, “I figured that I had a pretty successful career in baseball, I had played a number of seasons, and I was fine moving on to the next step of my life.”
Varvaro officially joined the P.A.P.D. in December 2016 and was assigned patrol posts until 2021, when he transitioned into teaching at the Port Authority Police Academy. In a 2017 interview with ESPN, Varvaro noted that he specifically asked to be assigned a patrol position at One World Trade Center.
“To be able to work at that specific location, you know, going back to the day of September 11 of 2001 — I feel like I’m honoring, you know, everyone who lost their lives that day,” he said.
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