Nike took over MLB’s uniforms from Majestic in 2020 as part of a 10-year deal. This was not received well by some fans, particularly since the Nike “swoosh” is now placed on the front of MLB jerseys.
In addition to taking over the manufacture of standard uniforms, Nike has added, over the last couple of seasons, the “City Connect” uniforms which include the Cubs’ Wrigleyville uniforms, now worn for most Friday home games.
Without a major announcement, the news quietly leaked over the weekend that Nike and MLB have agreed on a “four plus one” deal for uniforms, where teams will be allowed no more than four different uniforms plus a City Connect set. Chris Creamer of sportslogos.net has the details:
Nike is suggesting Major League ballclubs limit themselves to four overall uniforms plus one City Connect set.
“Nike is now doing all the jerseys — and one thing I’ll point out about Nike is that they have come to all the clubs and said, ‘We really want to sort of streamline uniforms.’ So there’s a model out there that they want to stick to called ‘four plus one.’” said [Cardinals President Bill] DeWitt III, as transcribed by the St Louis Post Dispatch. “You have four jerseys that you can wear — home, road and two alternates — plus your City Connect when you unveil that.”
This won’t affect the Cubs, as they have just three different uniforms apart from the City Connect: Home white pinstripes, road grays, and blue alternates. However, some teams have had to drop some of their previous uniforms to comply with this directive, including the Seattle Mariners, per Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times:
The Mariners had six jerseys last season — home white, home throwback cream, alternate “Northwest green” or teal to some, alternate navy blue, road gray and spring training power blue.
Kevin Martinez, the Mariners senior vice president of marketing and communications, confirmed the decision and said the elimination of gray and power blue was based on feedback from players and fans.
Instead of gray jerseys on the road, the primary road uniform will be gray pants with a navy piping and a navy jersey with gray lettering. If an opposing team is wearing navy blue at home, the Mariners will wear the Northwest green tops. The Mariners will also use those tops for spring training.
Personally, I’m a uniform traditionalist — I prefer teams in white (or pinstripe) jerseys at home and gray on the road. I know some people like the Cubs blue alternates (particularly since they won the 2016 World Series wearing them), but I don’t really care for them.
For a team like the Mariners to drop gray on the road completely just seems wrong.
Other teams who could be affected by this new directive include the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, and Tampa Bay Rays, all of whom had more than four jersey styles last year.
Last year, the Cubs wore only the pinstripes at home, a tradition I hope continues. On the road, they wore the gray jerseys 31 times (13-18 record), the blue alternates 49 times (23-26 record), and a special jersey for the Field of Dreams game, which they won. I’m assuming a one-off uniform for a special game like that doesn’t count against the “four plus one” limit. It hasn’t yet been announced whether the Cubs and Cardinals will wear any special uniforms for the London Series, but when the Red Sox and Yankees played in London in 2019, both teams wore their home white uniforms, as MLB wanted to show them off in London. Don’t be surprised if the Cubs and Cardinals do the same.
Nike’s new "Four Plus One" jersey rule...
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