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Arnold Rothstein's Death

Arnold Rothstein

The life and death of Arnold Rothstein:

What are the odds that one of the most notorious gamblers in American history would die because of a gambling debt? That's how things came up snake eyes for Arnold Rothstein, the man who is widely assumed to have organized the 1919 Black Sox World Series Scandal.

Born in New York City, Arnold was the son of Abraham Rothstein, who made a lot of money playing both sides of the fence as a legitimate businessman and immigrant racketeer. Arnold's mom was named Esther.

Arnold dropped out of school early and followed his Dad's footsteps in the underworld. Even when he was a child he engaged in gambling, even though his father scolded him for shooting dice.

In 1910, when he was 26, he established a gambling casino in Manhattan. And by 1919, he's suspected of convincing members of the American League Chicago White Sox to throw the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Eight White Sox players were forever banned from baseball.

blacksox players

Rothstein said he made $100,000 on the Series, though it's believed to have been about $350,000.

Arnold Rothstein

His crime allies included Meyer Lansky…

Meyer Lansky

…Legs Diamond…

Legs Diamond

Lucky Luciano

Lucky Luciano

…and Dutch Schultz.

Dutch Schultz

But it all came to an end on November 4, 1928, when Rothstein was shot and killed at Manhattan's Park Central Hotel. It was linked to his refusal to pay a $320,000 dollar debt he racked up during a 3 day long, high stakes poker game in October. He said it was fixed and wouldn't pay the money.

He ended up paying with his life.

newspaper report of Arnold Rothstein murdered

By the way, the Park Central was the site of another famous mob hit nearly 30 years later, when Albert Anastasia was gunned down while sitting in a barber chair.

Albert Anastasia dead

Rothstein didn't die immediately, but refused to finger his killer on his death bed.

He's buried in the Union Field Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens, New York.

Arnold Rothstein grave site

A decade after his death, his brother said Rothstein's fortune disappeared.