The Brutal Reign of Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo.
By Neil Gordon
Picture Don Corleone in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. Throw in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the murders of John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, Marilyn Monroe, Bugsy Siegel, Sam Giancana, Tony the Ant Spilotro, Johnny Roselli and Jimmy Hoffa. Toss in Hollywood scandal and the mobbed up career of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack. Now you can begin to grasp the epic story of Tony Accardo.
Why has this story never been told? Accardo killed everyone in his path: family, friends, cops, reporters, movie stars, and politicians. Operating from deep within the shadows Tony influenced national policy, exploited the FBI, owned politicians, and fixed presidential elections. Connected to every gangster from Al Capone to Lucky Luciano to John Gotti, Joe Batters is the must-read that every Godfather fan is craving.
In 1965, Mario Puzo was broke. He owed $20,000 to relatives, finance companies, banks, bookmakers, and loan sharks, plus he had a wife and five children to support. Though early works warranted Puzo critical acclaim, best sellers they were not. For the few who read them, one supporting character seemed to capture their imaginations, an aging Mafia Don. Despite growing up in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, Puzo knew next to nothing about the mob, so he headed to Las Vegas and checked into the Sands. Befriending pit boss Ed Walters, Puzo stood at the roulette wheel for weeks on end and asked about syndicate lore. Once the staff realized he wasn’t a cop or detective, they gave up the lowdown on Sinatra and his Chicago associates. The Sands, the Mecca of wise guy-celebrity relations, afforded Mario Puzo the literary foundation for The Godfather.
Why Joe Batters? The following is an excerpt from the book:
The heavenly aroma of Mama Capone’s peppers and sausage permeated the Plantation Casino as Outfit soldiers arrived at the black tie event. A personal invitation signed by Alphonse Gabriel Capone did not require an RSVP, but instead constituted a direct order of compliance, the mere refusal punishable by death. A mock academy awards solely for the amusement of Goodfellas, the May 6th dinner honored the “Killer Twins,” Alberto Anselmi and John Scalise. Credited for taking out rival Dean “Gimpy” O’Banion with their signature handshake hit, the Sicilian recruits had become a valuable addition to the Capone ranks.
As the banquet hall steadily filled with the toughest thugs the streets of Chicago had ever seen, one man stood out. Tony Accardo. His reputation for brutality was legendary, he wielded a tank of a body, viciously cocked and flexed for damage. His muscular presence alone sent out vibes of danger, imposing a begrudging respect rarely given. From his lips dangled a cigarette sucked to its doom, his vexatious stare unnerving the living while settling the dead.
Accardo, however, was not in his element. Trapped in a rented tux, the noose of a collar choked his burly neck as swanky trousers chafed his ass, his winkle-picker shoes in frantic need of a spit and a shine. Bow tie askew, his feeble attempt to knot it had gone comically wrong.
In contrast, Al Capone lived for these theatrical productions, savoring any occasion to hold court for his subjects. The passing of prohibition was quite the twenty-first birthday present for Capone. The price of a drink had risen from fifteen cents before the ban to a whopping seventy-five cents thereafter. Dancing in dough, Capone’s gambling dens, speakeasies, and prostitution rings netted one hundred million a year, certainly a sizeable sum in 1929.
Capone made one final check in the mirror. He applied pomade to slick back what was left of his receding hairline, then occupied himself by tending to the lingering evidence of his facial wounds, as he followed his routine of rubbing on talc to soften the glow of three scars gouged into his left cheek and jaw. Enraged by the name Scarface, and more apt to pull a gun than not, close friends called him Snorky, meaning stylishly elegant.
Capone’s manifestation launched the evening’s festivities. A procession of waiters offered antipasto tastings of peppers and sausage, old world capicolas, and Prosciutto di Parma. A bartender feverishly struggled to keep the booze flowing. Debunking the myth that Capone’s whiskey of choice was Templeton Rye, Al never drank hard liquor, only beer in the summertime and an occasional glass of wine at parties or family gatherings.
All eyes turned towards Capone as his anti-semantic Henry Ford anecdotes immersed the room in gut-wrenching laughter. The evening would not have been complete without tales of his exploits regarding the American Expeditionary Force. “Back in ‘17 my brigade stormed the beaches of northern France. A bunch of us doughboys destroyed a convoy of German tanks. Got these face wounds when a mortar round blew up in my face. Me and my buddies almost singlehandedly annihilated the entire Imperial German Army.”
John Scalise’s mouth ran amuck, “Capone brags he got those wounds fighting for the Lost Battalion? What a load of crap! Al ne’er even made it past the medical board. Everyone knows he got his face slashed over the affections of a gal at Frankie Yale’s. The little prissy’s brother carved him up like a jack-o’-lantern. No doubt Scarface dodged more flying metal than any of the doughboys who served in France.” Scalise sputtered this last assertion, a term used to define members of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I.
Capone took his place at the head of the table, facing the “Killer Twins.” On cue, tuxedoed waiters positioned gold domed dinner plates in front of each guest. On the Maître D’s command, the vaulted covers were simultaneously lifted to reveal a king-size portion of spaghetti and walnut sauce, Capone’s favorite.
Chef James Arcadi personally supervised cooking procedures from start to finish. Combat tested for the infiltration of toxic poisons from nefarious adversaries, Capone’s personal food taster religiously followed Mama Capone’s recipes to a tee, his disgruntled boss known to cleaver body parts upon disingenuous flavors.
Midway through dinner, Capone raised his wine glass towards the honorees. “In recognition of your loyalty and dedication, I am presenting you a Louisville Slugger from my private collection. Tony, show it to our guests.” Accardo circled the pristine table with the baseball bat in the palms of his hands. As each invitee turned to admire the label, his path led to the guests of honor.
“Gentlemen, I built my crime organization on fear. As God is my witness, fear cuts deeper than the sharpest of swords. You Sicilians fit right in, a toast to the zips.” Tension bounced about the table as a collective gasp spewed from the ranks. Capone had crudely insulted his guests, zips being a derogatory term for Sicilian Mafiosi. Half-crocked and loose of tongue, John Scalise fired first. “Vaffanculo!! You scar-faced spaghetti snapper.”
Insanely protective of Capone, Accardo percolated with uncontrolled rage. With steam shooting out his ears, he raised the prized bat high above his head and started whacking. Ambushed from behind, the violent collision drove Scalise face first into the table as red wine drenched the tablecloth. A second glancing blow hacked a divot out of the tabletop. Accardo’s hands were vibrating like a batter cueing a fastball off the end of a bat. A third shot flung Scalise and his walnut spaghetti crashing to the floor, the resounding thud of the bat implied a direct hit.
Anselmi’s eyes flooded in bloody terror as Accardo thwacked his skull like a piñata. The echoing sound of a final shot to the temple inoculated the stunned crowd. John “Hoptoad” Guinta attempted to intercede on his countryman’s behalf. “Antonino, fermare, fermare. Stop it, Tony.” As Guinta stooped to comfort his paisanos, Accardo blindsided him with a gargantuan swing that shattered his kneecap. Affectionately called The Dancing Torpedo, the destruction of Guinta’s leg signified the cruelest punishment for the man who loved to dance.
Accardo blindly swung with uncanny precision, the bloodbath redolent of lions ravaging a wildebeest. His adrenalin intensified at a frenetic pace, spraying the throng with Guinta’s blood, even as Anselmi’s brain matter spewed across the floor. A foul stench infused the room. “Damn maggots,” Accardo grunted. Then he turned back to the sallow-faced Scalise, who had a front row seat to his own impending execution. Egged on by the rowdy crowd, the “Killer Twins” fate was sealed by a botched Capone hit in an attempt to take over his illicit gaming empire. Desecrating the sixth Mafia commandment, cries of “Ice the rats,” “Fuck ‘em up Tony,” and “Whack the motherfuckers” filled the hall.
A hush came over the gathering. Resting his foot on top of Scalise’s skull, the triumphant gladiator raised the bloodied bat to offer the ultimate trophy. Cutting through the silence, Capone yelled, “This kid’s a real Joe Batters!” A myth perpetuated by the movie The Untouchables alluded to Al Capone swinging the bat, though most believe it was from this incident that Accardo earned the nickname “Joe Batters.”
Accardo straightened to eye his handiwork … the conspirators puddled in their own bodily fluids. Unlike any other piece of work, tonight’s events left him on an unprecedented high. Accardo was now in his element. In a few brief moments, he instilled deadly fear in the minds and souls of the toughest thugs in the world, earning that respect which could take a lifetime to achieve. No one would ever mess with Tony Accardo again.
I hope you enjoy Tony Accardo is Joe Batters. It can be purchased at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Be sure to check out the website tonyaccardoisjoebatters.com.
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