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The St. John's baseball program is deeply saddened to share that former Red Storm star Anthony Varvaro was killed in a motor vehicle accident this morning. He was just 37 years old.
Varvaro, a two-time All-BIG EAST selection during his three years at St. John's (2003-05), played six seasons in the Major Leagues before retiring and joining the Port Authority Police Department, where he served as an officer for the last six years.
Varvaro was killed early Sunday on his way to serve at World Trade Center Command as part the 9/11 anniversary remembrance.
"I am, along with the St. John's community, devastated by the loss of Anthony Varvaro," said longtime St. John's Baseball Head Coach Ed Blankmeyer. "His baseball exploits speak for themselves, one of the best pitchers in St. John's history. He was a quiet leader, fierce competitor and great teammate. He had an arm like a firebolt, but a heart of gold. However, Anthony was much more than an athlete. He was a man of service, a tremendous father and family man. As a major league pitcher, Anthony chose to leave baseball and attend the Port Authority Police Academy and after graduating his assignment was the World Trade Center Command. That tells you all you need to know about Anthony Varvaro. A true hero. I am proud to have been his coach. I would like to extend my prayers and deepest sympathies to his family. He has left us too soon."
Varvaro, a Staten Island native, made 166 appearances over six MLB seasons with the Mariners, Braves and Red Sox, compiling a career 3.23 ERA. 153 of those games came with Atlanta.
"I'm at a loss for words that we've lost as exceptional a human being as Anthony Varvaro," said Head Coach Mike Hampton, who coached Varvaro as an assistant for all three of his seasons at St. John's. "Not only was he everything you could want out of a ball player, he was everything you could want in a person. My heart goes out to his family, friends, teammates and fellow officers."
Varvaro was taken by the Seattle Mariners in the 12th round of the 2005 MLB Draft after earning Collegiate Baseball All-America honors and a spot on the All-BIG EAST First Team. He was projected to go in the first five rounds before undergoing Tommy John surgery in late June of that year. In 14 appearances, all of which were starts, he went 9-3 with a 2.32 ERA, helping the Johnnies win the BIG EAST Regular Season Championship and advance to the Corvallis Regional Finals. He struck out 115 batters and walked only 35, holding opponents to a .179 batting average.
As a sophomore in 2004, Varvaro started 16 of his 17 appearances and went 8-3 with a 3.63 ERA, helping the Red Storm secure its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1997. He was rewarded with a spot on the All-BIG EAST Second Team.
For his St. John's career, Varvaro went 21-12 with a 3.48 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 2-to-1. Opponents his just .226 off Varvaro during his three years with the Johnnies.
After signing on with the PAPD, Varvaro was recognized with the Alumni Achievement Award at the 2017 Bullpen Winter Banquet.
Varvaro is survived by his wife, Kerry, and their four children.
Funeral arrangements will be shared as they become available.