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Sports Saturday

White Sox reveal new City Connect uniforms. Are they a hit or a miss?

Friday, the White Sox released their new City Connect uniforms as part of a Nike series that will end up featuring seven clubs including the Cubs

A look at the Sox’ City Connect uniforms
mlb.com

I still remember the first jersey I ever wore to 35th and Shields as a young White Sox fan growing up in the ’90s.

OK, it technically was a replica of the 1991-99 road uniform, but I wore it with the pride and respect the name on the back — Frank Thomas — deserved.

Growing up in a Sox household, it was natural for me to align myself with the Big Hurt. He made his major-league debut two months before I made my debut in the world. I’m not saying his career in baseball somehow predestined my humble existence as a journalist, but we’re definitely connected, for the sole fact he’s my favorite player and that replica jersey took up space in my closet long after I outgrew it.

The White Sox’ 1990 cap logo is generational. Similar to the “NY” of the Yankees, the “B” of the Red Sox or the “LA” of the Dodgers, the Old English “S-O-X,” which became the team’s primary logo in 1991, is a clear identifier. Some influential people have worn those letters on hats, with arguably no one raising the logo’s status higher than the members of N.W.A., who made it a hip-hop staple in the early ’90s. Dr. Dre famously wore it in his “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” video in 1993. “Chicago changed their colors to black and white, which was perfect for us,” Ice Cube told NBC Sports when he was in town with his Big3 basketball league in 2017.

On Friday, the Sox unveiled their new City Connect alternate uniform as part of a Nike series that will end up featuring seven teams, including the Cubs. The Sox’ uniform was the third to be released, following the Marlins’ and the Red Sox’, and combines pinstripes and black and white of the past with a gothic “Southside” across the chest and matching “Chi” on the cap — a nod to the South Side community that shapes the team’s mentality today. The player jerseys sold out at the Chicago Sports Depot in three hours after their release. Shortstop Tim Anderson’s jersey sold out in two.

The Sox will wear the uniform for the first time June 5 against the Tigers.

Anderson was the first person from the Sox to see the design concept, before Nike or even chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. He had two words for the design team: “That’s dope.”

The Cubs’ City Connect uniform will be unveiled the week of June 7. Over the last 60-plus years, the Cubs have made only minor tweaks to their home uniforms, and their primary logo hasn’t changed since 1976. Tradition matters more for some teams, I guess. And taking risks with uniforms isn’t always rewarded. In 1976, the Sox wore white jerseys with a black collar, pairing them with shorts instead of traditional baseball pants. I wasn’t around to see those uniforms in person, and I thank the universe for that.

New uniform reveals used to get minimal mention, if any, with teams sometimes holding reveal ceremonies, but nothing like what it has become. The releases of today — with accompanying jersey sales — are no doubt a money grab, but they’ve also become a special way to involve fans and communities.

Fans on social media seem to enjoy what the Sox put out Friday. The new “Chi” cap has the potential to compete with the 1990 logo, especially in Chicago.

Personally, I think it’s time for me to upgrade my Thomas jersey. It’s still hanging in my closet.