Funeral held for Braves pitcher, officer killed by wrong-way driver on way to 9/11 event

NEW YORK — Hundreds of people showed up in Staten Island on Thursday to remember a former Atlanta Braves pitcher and police officer.

Varvaro, 37, retired from the MLB in 2016 to become a police officer at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He died Sunday on his way to the 9/11 memorial event.

“You can’t write this story,” Port Authority Police Superintendent Edward Cetnar said. “He volunteered that day to come in to serve because he loved the command of the World Trade Center where he worked.”

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The crash happened early Sunday morning on the New Jersey Turnpike Hudson Bay Extension East.

According to the crash report, Varvaro was traveling east when a wrong-way driver, identified as Henry Plazas, was driving west and crashed his car into Varvaro. Both Varvaro and Plazas died in the crash, which remains under investigation.


Varvaro played baseball at St. John’s University in New York City before a career in the majors as a relief pitcher with the Mariners, Braves and Red Sox from 2010 to 2015.

“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 Braves said in a statement. “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.”

Varvaro is survived by his wife, three sons and daughter. His sons wore baseball jerseys to honor him at the funeral.

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