Historical Highlights

The Career of Representative Raymond Cannon of Wisconsin

November 25, 1951
The Career of Representative Raymond Cannon of Wisconsin Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Representative Raymond Cannon played with the Democratic team in the 1933 Congressional Baseball Game.
On this date, former Wisconsin Representative Raymond J. Cannon died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cannon was born in Ironwood, Michigan, on August 26, 1894, and spent his youth in an orphanage in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, paying his way through school with various odd jobs and a burgeoning career as a baseball player. After multiple tryouts in the major leagues, he landed a spot on the Chicago Cubs’ spring training squad. Cannon, who had studied law at Marquette, was admitted to the bar in 1914 and opened a law firm in Milwaukee. Even in his legal practice, Cannon gravitated toward sports and athletes. He successfully represented “Shoeless” Joe Jackson during the famous “Black Sox” scandal of 1919 in which players on the Chicago White Sox were charged with throwing the World Series as part of a gambling conspiracy. For years, Cannon also served as attorney for the famed boxer Jack Dempsey. When Cannon lost his legal license in a brief suspension following accusations of “ambulance chasing” in 1929, he ran unsuccessfully for the state supreme court which had disbarred him. Though his legal work brought him considerable wealth and fame, Cannon reportedly lost much of his money in the Stock Market crash of 1929. In 1932, riding the coattails of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential campaign, Cannon won election to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat from a Wisconsin district encompassing the southern half of Milwaukee. He won re-election by comfortable margins in 1934 and 1936. He received relatively lackluster committee assignments, serving on the Elections #2 Committee; the Pensions Committee; the Revision of Laws Committee; and the Territories Committee. Cannon sponsored 134 bills during his time in Congress; most were private bills and none passed the House. He lost his primary in 1938, but ran as an Independent in the general election, coming in a distant third. Afterward, Cannon returned to his legal practice but couldn’t quite shake politics. In 1940 and 1942, he launched quixotic campaigns for the Democratic nomination for governor of Wisconsin. Cannon made a final attempt to return to Congress in 1944, but failed to win the Democratic nomination.