ELIZABETH, N.J. – The ranks of law enforcement are filled with athletes and prep stars, yet few who enjoyed sustained success at the professional level. But the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has welcomed aboard former Major League Baseball pitcher, Anthony Varvaro, 32, to their team, according to ABC News.
Vavaro pitched in relief for the Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, and Seattle Mariners from 2010 to 2015. He spent 2016 at the minor league level. He ends his professional baseball career with a 7-9 record, but a very respectable 3.23 ERA in 166 games.
The former MLB hurler originally from New York graduated in a ceremony in Elizabeth along with 79 fellow classmates. Their graduating class also includes nine former members of the military.
Varvaro is a resident of Staten Island, and 2005 graduate of St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, reported The NY Daily News.
In an interview with The Torch, St. John’s student newspaper, Varvaro said he was set to pitch again for a Red Sox Triple-A team, but decided to switch careers and become a cop.
“I kind of felt like my body was breaking down a bit, I felt like my career may have been coming to an end,” he told the paper in a Dec. 2 interview. “I probably could have played a little longer, but that’s when an opportunity with the Port Authority Police Department arrived.”
He added, “I’m just like the rest of the guys. I’m just a guy with a talent, that’s all.”
So now, Varvaro begins a new career with the Port Authority, a career that he says has been incomparable to the past 11 years of his life playing professional baseball.
“The [Major League Baseball] season is 162 games plus a 30-game spring training schedule, you’re traveling, that lifestyle is tough,” Varvaro said. “Trying to compare that to this lifestyle these past six months at the academy, I don’t want to say it was hard, but it was challenging because it was different. It was something that I had never experienced.”
A major part of Varvaro’s training with the Port Authority was educational. Port Authority officers are required to know both New York and New Jersey laws since they will be working in bridges and tunnels that cross between the states.
“At the academy, they go over everything, and at first it was a little difficult because I hadn’t been to school in, what, 10 years? I wasn’t in school mode,” he said. “But once I became acclimated it became, I don’t want to say easy, but it just became more comfortable.”
While a career in law enforcement is uncertain, Varvaro has two goals for his future.
“In today’s day and age, everyone knows that law enforcement isn’t exactly the safest job, so you’ve just got to make sure that you make it home safe every night, that’s the first thing,” he said. “And then the second thing is just to do my job, and to try to go to work every day to do what I took this job for, which is to help people.”