In this episode, we tell the story of a man who once had a blossoming career as a professional ballplayer, and how he became a vicious and respected hitman for the Patriarca Crime Family.
Maurice "Pro" Lerner grew up in Massachusetts and at just 18 years old, he signed his first professional baseball contract with the Washington Senators. He would go on to spend 10 years in the minor leagues, compiling a career batting average of .308 while playing for 21 different minor league ball clubs.
Unfortunately, when his baseball career fizzled out, his penchant for getting into trouble and a violent streak led him to become involved in the criminal underworld in New England. He would ultimately become an enforcer and hitman for the Patriarca Crime Family and would be involved in a number of gangland slayings, including his role as the primary shooter in the infamous double homicide of Rudolph "Rudy" Marfeo and Anthony Melei in 1968.
Ultimately, Lerner would stand trial with several confederates including the Don of the underworld in New England, Raymond Patriarca himself. Lerner and the others would be convicted and sentenced to prison, with Lerner receiving two life sentences.
Maurice "Pro" Lerner would serve 18 years of his life sentence, but would be released in 1988 after his conviction was overturned due to a revelation of significant perjury on the part of the main witness in his case along with corruption from the primary FBI agent on the case.
After release, Lerner would live out the rest of his life in Las Vegas, Nevada, passing away in 2013 at the age of 78.  Primary source for this story: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30/sports/baseball/maurice-lerner-prospect-turned-mob-hitman.html