Arnold rothstein;Founder of Black Sox scandal.

Arnold Rothstein ( 17 of January of 1882 , 4 of November of 1928 ) was a gangster of the Jewish-American organized crime. He was involved in the scandal of the Black Sox of 1919 . Considered one of the most important gangsters in the history of the United States, his popularity was such that he inspired Francis Scott Fitzgerald to create the character of Meyer Wolfsheim , partner of Jay Gatsby , (protagonist of his famous novel The Great Gatsby ), among many other characters from Anglo-Saxon cinema, television and literature.

Arnold Rothstein nicknamed “The Brain”, was an American cheater, businessman, and gamer who became a pivot of the Jewish crowd in New York City . Rothstein was widely reputed for organizing the corruption in athletics professional, including conspiracy to fix the 1919 series of the world .

According to crime writer Leo Katcher , Rothstein “transformed organized crime from thuggish thug activity into big business, running like a corporation , with himself at the top.” According to Rich Cohen , Rothstein was the person who first realized that Prohibition was a business opportunity , a means to enormous riches, that “understood the truths of capitalism in the early centuries and gave people what they wanted. “. His notoriety inspired several fictional characters based on his life, portrayed in contemporary and later tales,novels , musicals and movies.

Rothstein refused to pay a large debt resulting from a fixed game of poker and was assassinated in 1928 . His illegal empire was divided and distributed among a number of other underworld organizations and led in part to the downfall of Tammany Hall and the rise of the reformer Fiorello La Guardia . Ten years after his death, his brother declared that the Rothstein estate was bankrupt .


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  • 1 Early years and education
  • 2 Illegal race
  • 3 World Series 1919
  • 4 1921 Travers Stakes
  • 5 Prohibition and organized crime
  • 6 Death
  • 7 Disintegration of the empire
  • 8 In popular culture
  • 9 Source

Early years and education

Arnold Rothstein was born into a comfortable life in Manhattan , the son of a Jewish businessman , Abraham Rothstein , and his wife Esther . His father was a man of upright character who acquired the nickname ” Fair Abe .” Arnold was highly skilled in mathematics, but was otherwise not interested in school. His older brother, on the other hand, studied to become a rabbi .

Rothstein was known to be a difficult child and harbored a deep jealousy for his older brother, Harry . Rothstein’s father believed that his son always yearned to be the center of attention, often frustrated when he was not. His father pointed out an event in 1890 (when Rothstein was eight) proving this. Rothstein’s mother had gone to visit her mother across the state, she took her oldest son Harry and her newborn daughter with her, leaving Rothstein . The night he left, Rothstein’s father found him crying in the back of a closet, Rothsteinwould have said, “She hates me and you hate me, but you all love Harry .

While he was still a child, Rothstein began to indulge in the game, but no matter how many times his father scold him for rolling dice, Rothstein would not stop. In 1921 Rothstein was asked how he became a player: “I always played, I don’t remember when I didn’t. Maybe I played just to show my father that he couldn’t tell me what to do, I think I bet because I loved the emotion, when he played, nothing else mattered. ”

Illegal race

By 1910 , Rothstein at age 28 had moved to the Tenderloin section of Manhattan , where he established a major gambling casino . He also invested in a horse racing track in Havre de Grace , Maryland , where he was said to have fixed many of the races he won. Rothstein had a wide network of informants, deep pockets from his father’s banking community, and a willingness to pay a premium for good information, regardless of the source. His successes made him a millionaire in his 30s.

World Series 1919

There is a great deal of evidence for and against Rothstein being involved in the 1919 World Series fix . In 1919 , agents of Rothstein allegedly paid to members of the White Sox in Chicago to “throw” or deliberately lose World Series to the Cincinnati Reds . He bet against them and made a significant profit in what was called the “Black Sox Scandal .”

He was summoned to Chicago to testify before a grand jury investigation into the incident; Rothstein said he was an innocent businessman, intending to clear his name and reputation. Prosecutors found no evidence linking Rothstein to the matter, and he was never charged. Rothstein testified:

“It all started when Abe Attell and some other cheap players decided to frame the series and make a murder. The world knows they asked me in the deal and my friends know how I turned it down. I doubt that Attell used my name to put it on top of it. It’s been done. By men smarter than Abe. But I wasn’t into it, I wouldn’t have walked into it under any circumstances and I didn’t bet a penny on the show after I found out what was going on. ”

In another version of the story, Rothstein was approached by Joseph “Sport” Sullivan, a player, who suggested that Rothstein help fix the World Series. Rothstein allegedly turned down Sullivan’s proposal, but when he received Attell’s offer, Rothstein reconsidered Sullivan’s first offer. He thought the competition to fix the game made it worth the risk of getting involved and still being able to cover his share. The biography of Rothstein of David Pietrusza suggested that the mobster worked both ends of the fixation with Sullivan and Attell. Michael Alexanderconcluded that Attell posted the series “probably without the approval of Arnold Rothstein “, which “did not prevent Rothstein from betting on the Series with insider knowledge.”

Leo Katcher said that “all records and Grand Jury minutes disappeared, as well as the signed confessions of Cicotte, Williams and Jackson … The state, with virtually all of their missing evidence, tried to get the players to repeat their confession in the stand, which they refused to do, citing the Fifth Amendment . ” Ultimately, the judge had no choice but to dismiss the case. Katcher continued: “Thus, in the official record and based on the statement of [State’s Attorney Maclay] Hoyne, Rothstein was never involved in the Series arrangement. Also, in the official record, it was never shown that the Series had been fixed “. The eight players of the White Soxthey were always forbidden to play baseball. Despite all his denials, however, Katcher notes that “while Rothstein won the series, he won a small sum. He always maintained that it was less than $ 100,000. It was actually about $ 350,000. It may have been a lot – a lot – It wasn’t because Rothstein turned into a world series, but it was too good to be true, even if it was true.

1921 Travers Stakes

Under the pseudonym “Redstone Stable”, Rothstein owned a racehorse named Sporting Blood, which won the 1921 Travers Stakes under suspicious circumstances. Rothstein allegedly conspired with a leading coach, Sam Hildreth , to increase Sporting Blood’s odds . Hildreth entered a three-year-old standout, Gray Lag , on the morning of the race, causing the odds at Sporting Blood to go up to 3-1. Rothstein bet $ 150,000 via bookmakers, allegedly having been informed that second seed Prudery, was out of their diet. Just before post time and without explanation, Hildreth pulled Gray Lag off the output list. Rothstein raised more than $ 500,000 in gambling, but a conspiracy was never proven.

Prohibition and organized crime

With the advent of Prohibition, Rothstein saw opportunities for business; He branched out into smuggling and narcotics. The liquor was smuggled along the Hudson River , as well as from Canada through the Great Lakes and into upstate New York . Rothstein also purchased holdings in a number of speakeasies.

With his banking support and high-level political connections, Rothstein soon succeeded in taking down Tammany Hall with street gangs. Subsequently, his criminal organization included such noble figures as Meyer Lansky , Jack “Legs” Diamond, Charles “Lucky” Luciano and Dutch Schultz , whose combined gangs and double dealing with their respective bosses subverted the entire form of politics Gangsterism Rothstein’s nicknames They were Mr. Big, The Fixer, The Man Uptown, The Big Bankroll and The Brain.

Rothstein frequently mediated the differences between New York gangs and reportedly charged a hefty fee for his services. His favorite “office” was Lindy’s, on Broadway and 49th Street in Manhattan . She often stood on the corner surrounded by her bodyguards and did business on the street. Rothstein made bets and collected debts from those who had lost the day before. Meanwhile, he exploited his role as a mediator of the city’s legitimate business world and soon forced Tammany Hall to recognize him as a necessary ally in its running of the city. Many historians consider him the first successful modern drug dealer.

In 1925 , Rothstein was one of the most powerful criminals in the country, and he had built a great criminal empire. For a time he was the largest smuggler in the nation, until the rise of George Remus . Rothstein was one of the gangsters richest in the history of the United States , and is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of organized crime in the United States .


The 4 of November of 1928 , Arnold Rothstein was shot and fatally wounded during a business meeting at the Park Central Hotel in Manhattan on Seventh Avenue near 55th Street. He died on November 6 at the Stuyvesant Polyclinic Hospital in Manhattan . The shooting was reportedly related to debts owed to a high-stakes game of poker for three days in October. Rothstein had a cold streak and ended up owing $ 320,000 ($ 4.5 million in 2016). He claimed that the game was fixed and refused to pay his debt. The coup was intended to punish Rothstein for not paying his debt. Player George “Hump” McManus was arrested for the murder, but later acquitted for lack of evidence.

According to Kevin Cook in the book Titanic Thompson ( 2010 ), the game of poker was set by player Titanic Thompson (real name Alvin Clarence Thomas ) and his associate, Nate Raymond . Due to some complicated side bets, in the end Rothstein owed Raymond $ 319,000 (much of which Raymond owed, by secret agreement, goes to Thompson ); $ 30,000 to Thompson ; And approximately $ 200,000 to the other players present. McManus owed Rothstein $ 51,000. Rothsteinhe was stuck for time, saying he couldn’t pay until after the November 1928 election , when he expected to win $ 550,000 to successfully endorse Herbert Hoover for president and Franklin D. Roosevelt for governor . Thompson testified at McManus’s trial , describing him as “a surf loser” who would never have shot Rothstein . According to Cook , Thompson later told some of his acquaintances that the murderer was not McManus , but his “bag man”, Hyman Biller , who fled toCuba shortly after.

In his kill the Dutch! ( 1971 ), a biography of the Dutch Schultz, crime journalist Paul Sann suggests that Schultz murdered Rothstein . He says this was in retaliation for the murder of Schultz’s friend and associate, Joey Noel , by Rothstein’s protégé , Jack “Legs” Diamond.

On his deathbed, Rothstein refused to identify his killer, responding to police questions with “You stick to your trade. And” I mudder (my mother) did. ” Rothstein was buried in the cemetery of the Ridgewood Union Camp .

Disintegration of the empire

At his death, Prohibition was in full swing, various street gangs were fighting for control of the distribution of liquor, and the carefully constructed late 19th-century political boss structure was in total collapse. Frank Erickson , Meyer Lansky , Bugsy Siegel, and other former associates split up Rothstein’s various “companies” after his death. With Rothstein’s death , the corrupt and already weakened Tammany Hall was seriously injured, because he relied on Rothstein to control street gangs. With the fall of Tammany Hall , the reformer Fiorello La Guardiarose in prominence and was elected Mayor of New York City in 1933 .

Ten years after his death, Harry Rothstein ‘s brother Rothstein said the estate of Rothstein bankrupt and wealth of Arnold disappeared.

In popular culture

  • Rothsteinis referred to as “The Brain” in several Damon Runyon tales , including a fictional version of his death in ” The Brain Goes Home .” As a journalist, Runyon knew Rothstein personally and later covered the trial of his alleged killer.
  • In the novel The Great Gatsby , Meyer Wolfsheim is a Jewish friend and mentor to Gatsby , described as a player who fixed the World Series. It is supposed to be an allusion to Rothstein.
  • Rothsteinwas portrayed by various actors in films: By Robert Lowery in the 1960s , The Rise and Fall of Diamond “Legs”; By David Janssen in 1961 , King of the Loud Twenties – The Arnold Rothstein Story (aka The Big Bankroll); From Michael Lerner in the 1988 sports drama film Oight Men Out , based on the Black Sox scandal  ; And by F. Murray Abraham , in the 1998 crime film Mobsters .
  • In The Godfather Part II, Hyman Roth mentions Rothsteinas someone who organized a sports game outcome. “Roth” was the name that Vito Corleone gave Hyman when he was a child, as Roth’s real last name was difficult to pronounce, after Hyman spoke of his admiration for Rothstein .
  • In the HBO series Boardwalk Empire , a fictional version of Rothsteinis portrayed by Michael Stuhlbarg
  • Rothstein is a character in the New York mystery novel Nocturne: The Return of Miss Lizzie by Walter Satterthwait.


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