9/11 is already a tragic day for thousands of people, but now it has gotten even worse after the death of a former MLB player.
Anthony Varvaro, a former Major League Baseball pitcher who retired in 2016 to become a police officer in the New York City area, was tragically killed in a car crash Sunday morning on his way to work at the Sept. 11 memorial ceremony in Manhattan.
Varvaro’s former team, the Atlanta Braves, revealed the pitcher’s death in a statement on Sunday.
“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,” the Braves said.
The 37-year-old, who pitched mainly for the Atlanta Braves during his six-year MLB career, joined the Port Authority Police Department in 2016, starting out at the World Trade Center Command.
The married father of four was headed to work at the commemoration of the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks at the World Trade Center when he was killed.
“He was a real sweetheart,” said a Staten Island baseball coach whose team had played against kids coached by Varvaro.
“He didn’t have an attitude. You would never know that he pitched in the Major Leagues,” the coach said of the cop.
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.”
Authorities said Varvaro was killed in a head-on crash near Exit 14-C in a Jersey City stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike.
The vehicle operator who struck him was driving the wrong way at the time.
“The entire Port Authority family is heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of Officer Anthony Varvaro,” said PA Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Executive Director Rick Cotton in a joint statement Sunday.
“Officer Varvaro represented the very best of this agency, and will be remembered for his courage and commitment to service,” they said. “On behalf of the agency, we send our deepest condolences to Officer Varvaro’s wife, Kerry, his four children and his family and friends.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Anthony Varvaro.