#Shortstops: Look Good, Play Good

Written by: Conor Chesterman

Throughout the years, America’s pastime and fashion have been intertwined. With the evolution of baseball, so came the evolution of the players’ attire.

From wool numberless jerseys worn by greats such as Ty Cobb and Cy Young, to the unique 1976 White Sox uniforms with shorts; and from the Houston Astros ‘Tequila Sunrise’ jerseys to the trailblazing swagger of Ken Griffey Jr. wearing his iconic backwards Mariners cap during a Home Run Derby victory – baseball has been a microcosm for eras of fashion since the late 1800s.

Hundreds of uniform designs have debuted on the diamond. Some clubs have been sporting the same attire for decades such as the Yankees, Dodgers and Tigers; and others are not afraid to branch out with new designs seemingly on an annual basis such as the Diamondbacks, Marlins and Astros.

A program that all 30 pro ball clubs will participate in over these next few years is the integration of a ‘City Connect’ jersey. With Nike’s recent $1 billion jersey sponsorship with the MLB, teams are thinking outside the (batter’s) box. Nike and MLB have worked together to create a uniform that personifies and represents the community.

The 2021 season was the inaugural year for City Connect jerseys including, but not limited to, the Red Sox, Cubs, Giants and Marlins.

This year Nike will showcase clubs including the Brewers, Nationals, Astros and Rockies. The 2023 season will display the final set of City Connects for franchises such as the Yankees, Mets, Twins and Cardinals.

Each club honors a unique aspect of their city. San Francisco honors the famed Golden Gate Bridge with an insignia on their shoulders and caps, accompanied by fog synonymous with the Cloud City.

The Brewers, who introduced their rendition this summer, will exhibit a ‘Tavern of the Game’ patch on the shoulder sleeve to honor a local Cream City brewery every time they hit the field with their light blue City Connect uniforms.

The Boston Red Sox took a sharp turn for their edition, backing away from their iconic red-clad uniform. Boston chose to honor the annual Boston Marathon with a bright yellow wardrobe that has mostly gained rapport with the locals since their initiation last season.

On April 17, 2021, the Red Sox were the first team to trot onto the field with their City Connect jerseys. In a 7-4 win over the White Sox, shortstop Xander Bogaerts tallied four hits in his yellow and blue outfit.

This uniform now has a permanent home in the Hall of Fame’s collection.

Since Nike signed its deal with MLB in late 2019 to produce on field uniforms, the American apparel company has made a fashionable entrance onto the diamond.

Fitting all 30 teams with unique uniforms connecting to their home cities is a daring experiment.

Decades from now, some will be seen as iconic and some may be forgotten.

Conor Chesterman was a 2022 membership intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development

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