Lost Limbs Foundation

Friday, May 24, 2013

"Joe Batters"

It was during Prohibition that Accardo received the "Joe Batters" nickname from Capone himself due to his skill at hitting a couple of Outfit traitors with a baseball bat at a dinner Capone held just to kill the two men. Capone was quoted as saying, "Boy, this kid's a real Joe Batters"' Accardo went on to save Capone's life multiple times, such as when two men attempted to murder Capone while he was eating lunch. The Chicago newspapers eventually dubbed Accardo, "The Big Tuna," after a fishing expedition where Accardo caught a giant tuna. In later years, Accardo boasted over federal wiretaps he participated in the infamous 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre in which, allegedly, Capone gunmen murdered seven members of the rival North Side Gang. Accardo also claimed that he was one of the gunmen who murdered Brooklyn, New York gang boss Frankie Yale, again by Capone's orders to settle a dispute. However, most experts today believe Accardo had only p...See More
It was during Prohibition that Accardo received the "Joe Batters" nickname from Capone himself due to his skill at hitting a couple of Outfit traitors with a baseball bat at a dinner Capone held just to kill the two men. Capone was quoted as saying, "Boy, this kid's a real Joe Batters"' Accardo went on to save Capone's life multiple times, such as when two men attempted to murder Capone while he was eating lunch. The Chicago newspapers eventually dubbed Accardo, "The Big Tuna," after a fishing expedition where Accardo caught a giant tuna. In later years, Accardo boasted over federal wiretaps he participated in the infamous 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre in which, allegedly, Capone gunmen murdered seven members of the rival North Side Gang. Accardo also claimed that he was one of the gunmen who murdered Brooklyn, New York gang boss Frankie Yale, again by Capone's orders to settle a dispute. However, most experts today believe Accardo had only peripheral connections with the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and none whatsoever with the Yale murder. However, on October 11, 1926, Accardo may have participated in the assassination of then Northside Chicago gang leader Hymie Weiss near the Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.
In the 1940s, Accardo continued to gain power in the Outfit. As the 1940s progressed, it became evident that a number of Outfit bosses and members were going to have to face serious consequences for their parts in the extortion of the Hollywood movie industry's unions. However, because Nitti was claustrophobic, he was fearful of serving a second prison term, the first for tax evasion. So, Nitti committed suicide in 1943. Paul "The Waiter" Ricca, who had been the de facto boss since Capone's imprisonment, became the boss in name as well as in fact and named Accardo as underboss. Ricca and Accardo would run the Outfit either officially or as the powers behind the throne for the next 30 years, until Ricca's death in 1972. When Ricca subsequently received a 10-year prison sentence for his part in the Hollywood scandal, Accardo became acting boss. Three years later, as a parole condition, Ricca was barred from contact with mobsters. Accardo then became boss of the Outfit. In practice, he shared power with Ricca, who remained in the background as a senior consultant.
After 1957, Accardo turned over the official position as boss to long-time, money-making associate Giancana, because of "heat" from the IRS. Accardo then became the Outfit's consigliere, stepping away from the day-to-day running of the organization, but he still retained considerable power and demanded ultimate respect and won it from his men. Giancana still had to obtain the sanction of Accardo and Ricca on major business, including all assassinations.