On this day in 1973, Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match. Today, September 20th, marks the 40th anniversary of that eventful night, but not without a bit of controversy. It is now said that the game was “thrown” by Bobby to help pay off some of his gambling debts with the mafia totaling over $100,000.
Apparently, Bobby Riggs worked out a deal with mafia members, Frank Ragano, Santo Trafficante Jr., and Carlos Marcello that he would win his first match with female tennis star, Margaret Court, and lose his match with Billie Jean King… which he did. What do you think? Do you think Bobby tanked on purpose or did Billie Jean win fair and square? Makes you think.
If you haven’t heard of mobster, Frank Ragano, he was a powerful attorney and mob figure in Florida and New Orleans. You could often see him enjoying a beer with mafia members. In fact, he represented mob members such as Santo Trafficante Jr., and Carlos Marcello who were rumored to be connected to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He even represented Jimmy Hoffa and was asked by Trafficante to warn Hoffa to be careful just before his disappearance in 1975. Maybe he knew where Jimmy is buried!