ABOUT THE BALTIMORE CANNONS

The Cannons are the latest, and most successful, club to play in Baltimore. The city's first foray into the ranks of professional baseball was with the Baltimore Bannermen in 1881. The Bannermen were terrible and eventually moved out of Baltimore, down the road to the nation's capital where they live on as the Washington Eagles. Pro baseball returned to Baltimore in 1890 when the Clippers were born. Ironically, the man who owned the original Bannermen, James Banner, was the grandfather of the man who purchased the-then Baltimore Clippers in 1913, Oscar Banner. The younger Banner renamed Hilyard Park for his family (as Banner Field), was involved in trading the franchise's greatest player (Powell Slocum) in 1924 and renamed the team from the Clippers to the Cannons in 1925, claiming he wanted a fresh start for his ballclub.

ABOUT THE BOSTON MINUTEMEN

Boston (the city itself) had its ups and downs in the 19th century when it came to its baseball clubs. There was the Boston Pilgrims, who were an original Century League franchise in 1876 and lasted 10 years before leaving the league after an ill-advised coup attempt against Century League founder William Whitney. Then there was the Boston Minutemen (the first version) - added to the Century League in 1887. That club was never good and disappeared in a merger following the consolidation of the Peerless, Century and Border circuits in the winter of 1891-92. Then there was the Brahmins - this club, founded as part of the Peerless League in 1890 - was the one that became today's Minutemen. The Brahmins were bad in 1890, but owner Steve Cunningham was aggressive after that first season and his revamped squad won the second - and final - Peerless League pennant in 1891. Merged into the Federal Association upon FABL's founding in 1892, the Brahmins became the Minutemen in 1902, a name change that coincided with the first of five straight pennants. Cunningham and manager-personnel man George Theobald had a tremendously successful working relationship before Theobald moved on and the pair made Boston the flagship franchise for the first decade of the 20th century. The club was the first to build a concrete-and-steel palace for it's home and Cunningham Field remains one of baseball's best venues. Cunningham's son Harold (Harry) took over as owner upon his father's death in 1923.

ABOUT THE BROOKLYN KINGS

The Brooklyn Kings were born in a game of brinkmanship by the Border Association in its war with the Century League. The Kings were founded in 1884, two seasons after the birth of the BA and the new circuit sought to both ratchet up the pressure on its competition but also secure a bastion in what was then the nation's fifth-largest city (Brooklyn would not become part of New York City until 1898). The early years of the Kings were good ones - they finished third in their very first season and won the pennant in 1889 and 1891, remaining competitive in the first years of the FABL consolidation before fading badly. The salad days behind them, Brooklyn was mostly an also-ran who had occasional revivals that resulted in pennants in both 1912 and 1923, but the biggest prize - a world title, still eluded them as baseball celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1925.

ABOUT THE CHICAGO CHIEFS

The Chicago Chiefs represent the oldest professional ballclub still extant, having been the franchise owned by William Whitney when he founded the Century League in the fall of 1875. Along with the Philadelphia Keystones, the Chiefs are the lone remnant of that inaugural season. The Chiefs' success on the field has not lived up to their historical significance as the team had only two Century League pennants (1877, 91) and one Federal Association pennant and world title (1917) to its credit through the first 50 seasons of its existence. Still, the legacy of founder William Whitney lives on in his son William W. Whitney Jr (better known as W. Washington Whitney, or just Wash Whitney). The younger Whitney oversaw the construction of a splendid baseball palace on the banks of the Chicago River: Whitney Park which opened in 1920 to much excitement as a state-of-the-art venue with excellent sightlines and a welcome cooling breeze that blows through the large open windows on the concourses on summer days from the nearby river.