The Cannons are the latest, and most successful, club to play in both Baltimore and later, Cincinnati. Baltimore'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.

The 1930s were extremely unkind to the Cannons with seven straight finishes at the bottom of the CA. As the end of the decade arrived Oscar Banner had seen enough. In the 1939-40 offseason, Banner sold the club to the grandson of old Border Association kingpin James Tice. John Tice was a successful businessman whose company Tice & Childs, was the nation's top soap and detergent manufacturer. Baseball was in his blood however and he promptly moved the Cannons from Baltimore to his (and his grandfather's) hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. With minority partner George Theobald coming on board to manage the team and scouting guru Rufus Barrell coming out of retirement to lead the scouting department, the revitalized Cannons entered the 1940s with a lot of promise.