Jersey City, NJ – Port Authority Police Officer Anthony Varvaro, a former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher, was killed in a car crash on his way to 9/11 event at the World Trade Center memorial on Sunday morning.
Sources said the 37-year-old father of four was killed in a head-on collision on the New Jersey Turnpike caused by a wrong-way driver near Exit 14C, not far from the Holland Tunnel, the Daily Voice reported.
A native of Staten Island, Officer Varvaro made headlines in 2016 when he gave up a successful pitching career to join the Port Authority Police Department.
He first pitched for the Seattle Mariners in 2010 and earned the nickname “Little Pedro Martinez,” a nod to another legendary MLB starting pitcher, the Daily Voice reported.
Officer Varvaro pitched for the Atlanta Braves for four seasons before finishing up his career with the Boston Red Sox.
Always involved in his community, the pitcher retired from professional baseball in 2016 and entered law enforcement the same year, the Daily Voice reported.
“Officer Varvaro represented the very best of this agency, and will be remembered for his courage and commitment to service,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said in a joint statement.
“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 statement read.
Officer Varvaro was very involved in his community and became president of the Snug Harbor Little League last spring, the Daily Voice reported.
“Words cannot describe the tragedy that is losing [him],” the baseball league posted to social media. “A man that embodied all that is good in youth sports, he will be forever missed.
“Not only was Anthony the President, he was a tremendous person. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers,” the statement read.
Officer Varvaro was inducted into the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame in November of 2021.
Congratulations Port Authority Police Officer Anthony Varvaro on his induction into the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame. P.O. Varvaro's #PAPD career was proceeded by his Major League Baseball career.#SISHOF #PAPDPROTECTSNYNJ #PAPBA #PANYNJ #MLBhttps://t.co/kWFmJ4kGC7 pic.twitter.com/msIz09ch1l
— Port Authority PBA (@PAPD911) November 28, 2021
He is survived by his wife, Kerry, and their four children, the Daily Voice reported.
“It’s a tragedy,” John Eberlein, a family friend who coached Officer Varvaro told SILive. “He was a better person than baseball player, and he was a great baseball player.”
With deep sorrow, we lost an incredible human being today. Anthony Varvaro, a great competitor, a Johnnie, a Big Leaguer, a Port Authority officer, a friend. My prayers are with his family, friends, teammates, and fellow officers. pic.twitter.com/JC6TBQo9Bf
— Michael Hampton (@Boneman19) September 11, 2022
Pour one out today for my former teammate Anthony Varvaro. One of my favorite teammates. RIP my friend.
— Pat Light (@Pat_Light) September 11, 2022
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.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and colleagues. pic.twitter.com/NjleyAhZxI
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 11, 2022
Sad to hear of the passing of one of our former Braves, Anthony Varvaro. 💔 pic.twitter.com/AoIxXLIeXW
— Lauren T. (@BravesLove) September 11, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Port Authority Police Officer Anthony Varvaro, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.