Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Tony “Joe Batters” Accardo was an alleged mob boss for Al Capone's organization known as The Outfit in Chicago. Accardo was different from other mob bosses. Bosses like Al Capone, Sam Giancanna, Joe Colombo and later, John Gotti. The mentioned bosses were flashy and loved the media attention but Tony Accardo was very low key. He stayed out of the limelight and became a very successful boss and also became very rich.
Tony Accardo got his start with the gangster lifestyle at a very young age, as did most of the gangsters at the time of the 1920's and 30's. Accardo left school at the age of fourteen at the behest of his parents because he wasn't doing well and they needed him to get a job to help the family out. Tony Accardo took a job as a delivery person for a local florist and then later on, he took a job as a grocery clerk.
It was almost two years later when Accardo was first arrested and it would be the first of a long line arrests but as many times as Accardo was arrested, he had never spent one day in jail. It was 1923 when Accardo joined a group of thugs called the Circus Cafe Gang. The gang took their name from the Circus Cafe, a spot where mobsters were known to hang out.
Tony Accardo went from using his delivery truck to deliver moonshine around Chicago to graduate to more violent crimes such as muggings, assault, and armed robbery. His crimes and the moxie he had to pull off these crimes had caught the attention of Chicago boss Al Capone, so when one of Accardo's friends, “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn, got promoted from the gang to Capone's organization and Al asked him about new recruits to help the Outfit, McGurn mentioned Accardo's name and Capone was on board with it.
It didn't take long for Tony Accardo to prove his loyalty and moxie to Capone and was soon made Capone's personal bodyguard. This where he earned the nickname, Joe Batters. When Capone told Accardo that he wanted two traitors taken out, Accardo allegedly took them out with a baseball bat. When Capone heard this, he laughed and said, “That kid is a real Joe Batters.”
It also didn't take long for Accardo to rise up in the ranks and allegedly took over position of boss of the Outfit when Capone went to prison for tax evasion and Frank Nitti committed suicide. Joe ran the Outfit under the radar and became wealthy through the gambling rackets, and without ever going to jail.
On a somewhat lighter note, in 1961, he approached a professional wrestling tag team called The Sicillians. They dressed as gangsters and told people, as part of their gimmick, that they were in the Mafia, Accardo told them to stop using the word mafia, and they did. One member of this tag team would go on in wrestling history as Captain Lou Albano.
Accardo died in 1992 of heart and lung disease and was one of the few mobsters ever to die of natural causes.