The first of the 17 ships of the Baltimore class were commissioned in 1943 and several survived into the aircraft carrier era after being refitted as the Boston (Boston and Canberra) and Albany classes of guided missile cruisers with one remaining in commission until 1980. They were the among the last 8-inch-armed heavy cruisers in service; the last to be paid off was USS St. Paul in 1971.
The class also served as the basis of two derived classes of heavy cruiser, which were almost identical in terms of their general characteristics: the Des Moines class and the Oregon City class. The Oregon City class being repeat builds of the Baltimores with only the superstructure design differing but the Des Moines class were enlarged versions of the Baltimores, with a displacement almost the same as the first modern battleship HMS Dreadnought. They were the main recipients of the new rapid-fire triple 8-inch turret.