John "The Bat" Battaglia

John Louis Battaglia (died in 1975) known as "Johnny Bats", was a prominent mobster and gambling figure in the Los Angeles crime family.


Battaglia operated one of the largest bookmaking operations in southern California. His multi-million dollar operation was coveted by other mobsters. Despite fierce competition from Mickey Cohen and an assortment of lesser known figures, Battaglia continued to expand his business employing the likes of Peter Milano and occasionally Angelo Polizzi, Luigi Gelfuso and Sam Lazares. With particularly strong links to Johnny Roselli and the Flamingo Hotel operation, he grew his sports book to the point where by the time of his death in 1975 he was considered among the foremost horse race handicappers in the Western United States. Battaglia was once arrested by Las Vegas police along with Louis Tom Dragna, on vagrancy charges as they sat in at a hotel cocktail lounge on the Las Vegas Strip.

Battaglia was a member of the Los Angeles crime family. His brother, Charles Battaglia, also known as "Charley Batts", was a mob enforcer who participated with Jimmy (The Weasel) Fratianno in the infamous Hollywood murders of Anthony Brancato and Anthony Joseph Trombino (known as the The Two Tonys). Battaglia was made a member of the Los Angeles crime family around 1956 by USC educated lawyer and mobster boss Frank DeSimone. He was once sentenced to 10 years in prison for income tax evasion. In 1960 Battaglia was entered into Nevada's gaming commission Black Book, in which he was listed as a known mobster, along with other notorious Midwest and West Coast La Cosa Nostra figures.

He remained active in the Los Angeles family up until his death of natural causes in December of 1975.

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