On this day, Jan. 24, in 1925, a failed mob hit on Chicago outfit boss Johnny Torrio led to his retirement and the succession of his lieutenant, Al Capone. Torrio was nicknamed "The Brain" or "The Fox" for his cunning ways and is credited for organizing the crime families into a national syndicate.

Torrio had muscled his way to the top of rough and tumble Chicagoland when he was ambushed in front of his apartment after a shopping trip with his wife. Torrio was blasted with a shotgun and pumped with four bullets.

Torrio fought death for nearly two weeks while his protege Capone kept 30 mobsters on guard.

After his recovery, Torrio, 43, handed the reins to Capone and retired to Italy. He remained an adviser and helped set up the syndicate.

Scott McCabe