Samual had gotten his reputation when he would carry a hidden pocket knife to school. He would carve initials into his desk, the trees, and anything else he could find.
As he grew up, he got into his share of fights, and often used his trusty knife. If his victim was laying on the ground, knocked out, he would often carve his initials in an arm or leg.
Once he had joined the big league, he upgraded his shivs to more expensive ones, and learned how to throw a knife and hit a target.
Now he was in demand by Johnny Ruffo as someone who might rough up an enemy. But he also was loyal to the West Side Gang, and nobody really knew if they could trust him.
Sam the Shiv was not someone to mess with. You'd never know if it were Sam who slashed your tires, or perhaps your throat when you were sleeping.
Some people are best left alone, but Sam had a way of appearing whether you wanted him to or not. Sam's appearance certainly was daunting, especially as he loved nothing more than sampling the fare of the town's fancier restaurants. Besides, you just never knew where you might pick up a good steak knife.