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Degenerate gambler and sportsman, Jacob (Bald Jack) Rose (Rosenzweig), due to a rare disease, had nary a hair on his entire body. But what Rose lacked in hair, he more than made up for with a diabolical criminal brilliance that put him “head and shoulders” (no pun intended) above the competition.

In the early 1900s, one of Rose’s competitors was fellow gambler Herman Rosenthal, a mean and snaky runt who had the reputation of being a stool pigeon, or as they say on the streets – a rat – for the New York City Police Department. Rose and Rosenthal both owned competing gambling joints in the seedy uptown area of Manhattan called the “Tenderloin,” or “Satan’s Circus.”

Rosenthal’s partner of sorts was corrupt New York City Police Lieutenant Charles Becker, who was not adverse to taking money with both hands (graft) from the Tenderloin’s gambling joints and houses of prostitution. Rose and Rosenthal both paid Becker handsomely, but then Rosenthal got the idea he was too big a man to continue to line Becker’s pockets with cash.

Rosenthal, after being rejected as a stoolie by New York’s City’s Police Commissioner Rhinelander Waldo, New York City Mayor William J. Gaynor, and Manhattan District Attorney, Charles S. Whitman, decided to take his story to the press.

Enter New York World columnist, Herbert Bayard Swope.

Swope believed Rosenthal’s claims, and he knew nothing could propel a newspaperman’s career faster than exposing police corruption. Swope wrote a two- part piece for his newspaper outlining Becker’s crimes. The next move was for Rosenthal to sign an affidavit confirming his allegations against Becker for New York District Attorney Whiteman, a grumpy drunk who had his sights set on becoming the next Governor of New York State (amazingly, that actually happened two years later). This affidavit would swear that Becker was a cretin, criminal, and a crook, and would most certainly lead to Becker being fired, arrested and prosecuted, with Herman Rosenthal being the chief witness for the prosecution.

This is where Bald Jack Rose displayed his Machiavellian brilliance.

Not only did Rose want Becker out of his hair (again, no pun intended), but he figured out a way to get rid of both Becker and Rose (who was threatening to rat on Rose, too) in one fell swoop.

To find out what happened next, read “Mob Rats – Bald Jack Rose.”



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