Nike’s MLB City Connect Jerseys, Ranked

Honoring the communities, cultures, and history of cities throughout Major League Baseball.

Nike MLB City Connect

For decades, Nike has been at the forefront of athletic innovation. In recent years, they’ve secured deals with the NFL, NBA, and MLB as each league’s official on-field uniform provider. In that time, they’ve injected fresh life and authentic designs into the once declining sports jersey aesthetic.  

The City Connect Series is Nike’s first dip into a more unique uniform design in the MLB. The series looks to pay homage to a franchise’s connection to its city and fanbase. According to Nike, each uniform looks to capture the “distinct personalities, values, customs and traditions” of a franchise. The collaboration begins with seven inaugural clubs, with jerseys expected for all thirty teams over the next few years.

14. Los Angeles Dodgers

Nike City Connect Dodgers

If these had been the first jerseys to debut in this collection, the hype wouldn’t be nearly as high. Thankfully, these were the last of the seven jerseys to be revealed. This set is remarkably bland, blatantly resembling the Dodgers’ Spring Training uniforms. The “Los Dodgers” emblazoned across the chest attempts to pay homage to Los Angeles’ Hispanic community, but it falls flat. Many fans expressed displeasure with the design, wishing Nike had utilized the “Los Doyers” moniker to better represent their vast Mexican-American fanbase. 

Nike had a great opportunity to do something spectacular for one of the league’s premier franchises and failed miserably. Los Angeles is a city rich in culture that should have been captured in a much better fashion. Perhaps Nike could have drawn greater inspiration from one of the city’s many talented street artists creating beautiful murals across the city. Oh well, at least they went with blue pants?

13. Chicago Cubs

Nike City Connect Cubs

For years, I have been a passionate advocate for more color in baseball uniforms. The all-navy blue design featured here is reminiscent of the bold, colorful uniforms popularized in the 1970’s. While the color palette does not stray far from the norm, its interpretation of the Chicago flag comes across much better than the Giants putting fog on their logo. “Wrigleyville” is etched across the chest in a slightly wavy font, possibly to encapsulate Chicago’s moniker as the Windy City. Admittedly, this is a very safe design that makes the uniforms appear slightly boring the longer you sit with them.  

12. San Francisco Giants

Nike City Connect Giants

Paying homage to the San Francisco fog is an excellent idea in theory. However, my biggest gripe with this uniform is that the fog isn’t a crisp, pearl white as the uniforms indicate. The fog is much closer to a muted gray. Moreover, seeing the Giants wear all-white uniforms as opposed to their usual cream colorway just feels weird. The jerseys also feature a tribute to the landmark Golden Gate Bridge as a silhouette on the sleeves. But having the fog serve as the focal point of a city so rich in cultural history is greatly underwhelming. Nike missed an excellent opportunity to create a wild tie-dye-styled jersey in honor of Haight-Ashbury and the 1960s counterculture movement.  

11. Kansas City Royals

Nike City Connect Royals

Nike could have gone a lot of different directions to pay homage to Kansas City. Rather than opt for a jazz or barbecue theme, the Royals drew inspiration from the city’s fountains and art deco architecture. The navy blue, while not a strong distinction from their standard palette, honors the city’s vast baseball past with the Monarchs, Blue Sox, Athletics, Packers, and Blues. The fountain logo is extremely modern and well done. However, much like the Cubs, these uniforms are safe and don’t really deviate from the team’s normal jerseys.

10. Milwaukee Brewers

For the Brewers City Connect jerseys, Nike took inspiration from the People’s Flag of Milwaukee, as well as the city’s summer skies, grilling culture, and Lake Michigan. The “MKE” seen on the caps is the abbreviation for Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. Meanwhile, the jerseys use the team’s popular nickname with fans – Brew Crew. While this look is visually appealing, it’s a very safe design that is more of a fun twist on the team’s current uniforms than an innovative redesign.

9. Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks

Nike opted to flip the primary and secondary colors of the Diamondbacks to represent the beautiful Sonoran Desert. The gold uniform features red accents with “Serpientes” etched across the chest. The uniform does an excellent job paying homage to the beauty of the Valley of the Sun and the state’s Hispanic culture. Though this style doesn’t drift far from their standard sets, it’s simply too clean to ignore. While this is somewhat of a safe design choice, it comes across much better as a whole than the Cubs or Giants.  

8. Houston Astros

Astros

The Astros went with a space theme for their City Connect uniforms in honor of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. While the uniform doesn’t deviate from the team’s standard color palette, it does put a unique spin on it. A “Tequila Sunrise” gradient blends from orange to yellow on the socks, hat, and jersey details. The sleeves feature a grid pattern inspired by mission control monitor solar arrays, while “Space City” appears across the chest in NASA’s signature worm font. The uniforms do an excellent job with the theme of space travel while also paying homage to eccentric jerseys in the franchise’s history.

7. Los Angeles Angels

Nike City Connect Angels

Nike drew from Southern California’s historic beach and surf culture for the Angels’ City Connect uniforms. Retro surf brands inspire the font selection and asymmetrical sleeve stripes, while a jersey patch represents the state’s early railroad. Most importantly, the uniforms use a sandy shade for the base instead of the standard white. The Angels could have deviated more from their standard uniform, perhaps swapping out the red for an ocean shade of blue to honor the Pacific. Perhaps that would’ve intruded too much on Dodgers territory, but hey, at least they didn’t do something Disney-themed.

6. Boston Red Sox

Red Sox

Finally, we’re getting into the good stuff. THIS is how it should be done. Not only does it look nothing like a traditional Red Sox uniform, but it does also an excellent job paying homage to the city of Boston. The bright yellow jersey features a blue stenciled font inspired by the Boston Marathon. The Red Sox actually featured blue as a primary color from its inception in 1901 until 1907. While these uniforms have been widely shunned by traditionalists due to their departure from the classic red and white colorway, many embraced the concept. As the first uniform released from the City Connect Series, this set the tone for the outside-the-box thinking that Nike injects into uniforms across all sports.  

5. San Diego Padres

The Padres opted for a binational theme for their City Connect jerseys to honor the shared community between San Diego and Tijuana. The bright pink, yellow, and mint shades are prevalent throughout Baja California, while the font on the front of the jerseys is representative of weathered beach signs. Though reaction from fans was mixed, props to the Padres for taking a leap and using colors rarely seen on major league jerseys and caps. Many people have drawn design connections to the “Miami Vice” uniforms worn by the Miami Heat, as well as a can of Arizona Iced Tea, ’90s roller-skaters, and vintage Taco Bell decor. Regardless of what you liken them to, these uniforms are fresh and exciting.

4. Washington Nationals

Nike City Connect Nationals

For the Nationals, their City Connect uniform pays homage to the city’s signature cherry blossoms that bloom every spring. The bright pink Japanese flower tree appears prominently beneath a typeface that resembles D.C.’s neoclassical architecture and again on the cap. Monochrome cherry blossoms are featured on the steel gray jersey with several light pink accents. The fashion-forward design received near-universal praise from fans and players alike. Most importantly, the design doesn’t fall flat like the fog used on the San Francisco Giants uniforms. However, some fans do wish the team leaned into the light pink theme more, similar to their NBA counterparts the Washington Wizards. The color coordination between an MLB and NBA team in the same city is pretty cool, though, something I wish we’d see more of across sports.

3. Chicago White Sox

White Sox

There’s a wide gap between the top three and the rest of the pack. The White Sox made a strong statement with the dark gray pinstripe pants, injecting fresh life into the uniform design. The jersey displays “Southside” in a Gothic font, paying homage to the Greystone architectural style seen throughout Chicago. Nike also mentions that the design was partially inspired by the White Sox influence in hip-hop culture. Fans absolutely adored these uniforms, causing a sell-out on the first day the jerseys became available for purchase. The White Sox City Connect uniforms find the perfect balance of differentiating themselves from the norm while also staying true to team branding.  

2. Colorado Rockies

Nike City Connect Rockies

From City Connect to… State Connect? Rather than limit themselves just to Denver, Nike uses the Rockies uniform to honor the entire state of Colorado. The design honors the mountains that give the team its name with a shade of green reminiscent of the state’s signature pine trees. The font across the chest is taken from state license plates and a new circle logo uses red for soil and gold for sunshine. The Rockies did an excellent job deviating from their standard uniform set without being too far out of left field. The refreshing look already feels like an instant classic.

1. Miami Marlins

Marlins

Inspired by the Cuban Sugar Kings, the uniforms feature a bright red pinstripe jersey with shimmering blue accents. The Sugar Kings were a minor league affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, playing in Cuba from 1946 through 1960. While the uniform is not a direct copy of the Sugar Kings, the shoulder patch and logo are similar to the originals. The creative direction of these uniforms embodies the city of Miami and its widespread Cuban culture. Nike easily could have gone down the “Miami Vice” route with these uniforms as they regularly do with the Miami Heat. With a long history of bold uniforms in Miami, Nike has delivered a jersey that pays homage to the city of Miami and will surely stand the test of time.

You can check out the full City Connect Series here. Let us know your thoughts on Nike’s City Connect Series in the comments section below! Anything you would change in this ranking? Lastly, for more sports editorials, check out Barry Bonds Unjustly Denied Entry to the MLB Hall of Fame

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