Nike’s MLB City Connect Jerseys, Ranked

Nike injects popping colors and fresh vibes into historically bland uniforms.

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 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.

7. Los Angeles 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?

6. San Francisco 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 1960’s counterculture movement.  

5. Chicago 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.  

4. Boston 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, it does 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 their 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.  

3. Arizona 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.  

2. Chicago White Sox

Really this ranking should end with 1A and 1B.  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.  

1. Miami Marlins

Not only are these the sickest jerseys from the City Connect Series, they might be the best uniforms in baseball history.  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.  Catch me rocking a Jazz Chisholm Sugar Canes jersey next time I’m down on South Beach.  

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?  What team do you think is worthy of getting the next spot in the City Connect Series?  Lastly, for more sports news, check out the recap of NBA Free-Agency