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Ranking The City Connect Caps from First to Worst

In case you missed it, yesterday I ranked All 29 City Connect Uniforms released by MLB. It was more difficult than you might think, especially since I’d give more than half of them failing grades in a Pass/Fail system. But in ranking them, while I did factor caps into the rankings, by and large, I was ranking them more for the jersey and pants than the caps.

In many instances, a team may have a very good CC cap, but the rest of the uniform is so bad the cap can’t save it — for example, the worst uniform (or certainly bottom three), the Tampa Bay Rays, actually have a great CC cap. But not even a terrific cap could save that costume. Judging the Rays solely by their CC cap, however, would rank them easily in the top 3. But I never even considered just ranking the caps until I saw this comment in yesterday’s article:

So, it being a slow-ish uni-news week, I figured what the hell, I’ll rank just the CC caps.

First, a few ground rules for ranking the CC Caps:

1) In general, caps without side logos/patches will rank higher than those with.

2) In general, caps with a logo or “official” abbreviation on the bill will rank higher than those with an airport code or full city name.

3) While contrasting colors aren’t mandatory, caps with different color bills/crowns will rank higher more often than not.

4) None of the above are completely hard and fast, but are generally my preferences.

With that in mind as my (somewhat) firm criteria, here are my rankings of the 28* CC caps.

* (I’m only including the Dodgers Second Edition Cap for this ranking. In fact, I couldn’t even find the Dodgers’ Version 1.0 or Version 1.5 for sale anymore.)

Ready. From First to Worst, here we go:

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1. CLEVELAND GUARDIANS

The Guardians hit both the CC and the CC cap out of the park.

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2. ATLANTA BRAVES

Unlike their uni which has “The A” on it, this cap gets it just right.

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3. TAMPA BAY RAYS

So much to like about this, especially the “ray/bridge” logo; why did their CC uni have to be so bad?

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4. CHICAGO CUBS

Absolutely LOVE the red star from the flag inside the C. Only thing that could make this better would be a powder blue squatchee.

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5. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

The sonoran sand and black work so well together. If the team were to swap the logo from the new CC batting helmet, it might even rank higher.

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6. SEATTLE MARINERS

The modernized version of the trident logo is perfect.

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7. PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Thankfully the sublimated pattern is almost invisible, because this hat checks all my boxes.

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8. LOS ANGELES ANGELS

A gold halo might have shown up better, but this is still a great looking cap.

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9. COLORADO ROCKIES

The only thing I don’t like about this cap is the fact that none of the colors in the logo are green.

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10. TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Their CC uniform may be the one of the worst, but their cap is far from it. Maybe next time design the uniform from the cap down.

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11. KANSAS CITY ROYALS

The “fountain” logo is pretty cool, but why are there five streams going down? Shouldn’t it be just three?

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12. CINCINNATI REDS

Unlike their wordmark and numbers, I can read this logo just fine. Love the old-school touch of the red braid around the crown!

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13. BALTIMORE ORIOLES

This cap could use some color (somewhere), but that “B” logo is incredible.

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14. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Yes, STL may be the airport code, and the “T” should be smaller, but it’s still a good cap and the Tuscan font is nice.

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15. SAN DIEGO PADRES

I love the seafoam and fuchsia, but it would have been nice to have a fuchsia squatchee, or a yellow brim.

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16. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

The Liberty Bell logo and stars are great, but the cap shouldn’t be such a dark blue that it looks black.

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17. CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Like Baltimore, this could use just a hint of color, and I’d prefer it say “Sox” to “Chi,” but it’s still solid.

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18. BOSTON RED SOX

Having the B and the cap in the same powder blue doesn’t quite cut it. A solid yellow B would have been better.

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19. HOUSTON ASTROS

The logo is great, but the white “H” blends in a bit too much, and then there’s the superfluous “ASTROS” patch on the side.

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20. MIAMI MARLINS

The old school logo, by itself, would have been fine, so why’d they add the fish logo to the side of the cap?

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21. TEXAS RANGERS

The CC cap isn’t nearly as good as the uni. The “TX” logo is too thick and hard to read, and yes, I know “4-21” pertains to the Battle of San Jacinto, but it’s side clutter for the cap.

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22. NEW YORK METS

Some may like it, but the 3-D 59th Street/Queensboro Bridge can’t be seen at any distance — and that’s probably a good thing — but a black “NY” on a “graphite” cap doesn’t do much for me.

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23. WASHINGTON NATIONALS

I love the cherry blossom theme on the uni, but not so much on the cap. This would have been much better with *just* the “W” (and thank God they didn’t put “WSH” on there).

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24. LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Either use the classic LA or the Spring Training “D”, not both. And you don’t need “Dodgers” on the side either.

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25. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

The orange SF on the orange cap suffers from the same problems as the Red Sox, and the whole Golden Gate motif on the side is completely unnecessary.

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26. MINNESOTA TWINS

Two good things (logo, contrasting color brim & squatchee) just can’t overcome the giant and unnecessary “10,000 LAKES” logo on the side. Just one too many bumperstickers here.

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27. DETROIT TIGERS

The “DETROIT” in Star Trek font is bad enough, but then they needed to toss on the WS Wins patch on the side.

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28. MILWAUKEE BREWERS

It’s hard to imagine how a cap that has three of my favorite colors (powder, navy and gold), plus a contrasting brim and squatchee could be brought down SO HARD by the “MKE” (in a terrible font), which was bad enough, but trying to also wedge “414” inside the MKE clandestinely just makes it a muddled mess. I wanted to like this one, but I can’t. I just can’t.

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And there you have it — my totally unbiased CC cap rankings. Feel free to disagree and I welcome your feedback down in the comments below.

 
  
 
Comments (69)

    I think the Phillies are the best example of bad uniform, great cap. That’s just a cool Philadelphia hat, not even Phillies specifically. If I were from Philadelphia and proud of it, I’d buy that hat even if I wasn’t a baseball fan.

    My thoughts exactly. I’ve come around on the Phils’ CC uniforms a bit over the last month, but I loved the cap from day one…

    Easily one of my top 5 hats. Phil is biased against the Phil’s. Pain and simple. It says Philly on the back, under the brim is awesome LOVE logo. And best of all, this overpriced hat can also double as a philadelphia union hat. So you even feel better about losing $40 on a hat. Yeah I bought it the day it came out.

    It’s definitely pain and simple.

    And not biased against any team (therefore, not biased against any team’s cap). I do love the logo — but I’m not digging the really, really dark blue base. But since it’s based on the City’s flag, it should really have the blue from the flag as the base color. I’ve seen both darker (link) and lighter (link) versions of the flag. I’d have been much happier if they went with the darker hue … the one they went with is almost black.

    And even if we’re to divorce the cap from the “flag colors” aspect, I still think the base is too dark.

    Not biased. Just calling ’em as I see ’em.

    You’re certainly more than welcome to disagree.

    Great idea for this post and great job. I agree on almost everything, especially Dodgers and great observation on Royals stream count.

    Phil, I have noticed when you do rankings, you go from first to worst. I prefer the opposite, where you start with the worst and drama builds to number one. I guess I could jump to the bottom and scroll up, but I imagine some may agree with me. Would you consider going in reverse order?

    I don’t do a lot of rankings (although that will likely change now that I’m Editor), but I thought doing the CCs from first to worst would build up the drama surrounding the worst uni (or cap), since that’s listed last.

    For other rankings, I’ll more than likely go worst to first (as most rankings go).

    You’d think the man who came up with the concept of the 5&1 list for me would have done a 27&1.
    That way you properly count down Casey Kasem/Ryan Seacrest-style, and still have the suspense of “What’s the worst?” reserved for the end.

    As much as I dislike The Oriole Way, they have the best CC cap. If it was an orange B it’d really, really good. I wonder if they went white because of the Chicago Bears sideline caps.

    I don’t like side patches either but I tend to ignore them when deciding on buying a cap, and I buy a LOT of caps. My favorite is still the Marlins lid. Agree that the Orioles could use some color but it’s still the only thing I like about their CC outfit. The Nats cap is awfully ‘busy’ but I love it. The Reds’ cap is another favorite. A few of the others are nice but not nice enough to get me to throw money at them. I considered getting a Phillies model but opted for the Phanatic BP(?) cap instead.

    I have the Giants CC cap without the Golden Gate on the side. Definitely addition by subtraction.

    As both a Giants’ fan and a relative of Frank Doyle, one of the community leaders most responsible for the Golden Gate Bridge’s construction, if you are going to use the bridge as part of the cap/top, then use the correct shade of orange (Golden Gate Bridge International Orange—Hex Triplet #C0362C).

    (The original approach road to the bridge from the south was named in my relative’s honor. When it was replaced about ten years ago, the roadway was renamed Presidio Parkway.)

    I agree that the Cubs’ hat would look better with a light blue squatchee, but then the hat would be almost identical to the Jays’ alternate cap (worn with the powder blues).

    Phil, I believe you described the front panel on the Angels’ hat as “white” in your original post about the uniforms, as opposed to the cream used on the jerseys/pants. I think white and cream clash horribly, which ruins an otherwise good hat, but I guess this ranking is looking at the caps in a vacuum and not in the context of the uniform as a whole.

    Yes, but that should have the five streams (look at the design). The “KC” stream seems to pick up two *extra* torrents of water out of thin air.

    I absolutely love that you made this observation and caused me to take a closer look, but as someone from KC who loves this logo…
    The left two streams are picked up from the “C”. You can even see the detailing on the 2nd-from-the-left stream moving straight down behind the part that curves around to form the C. I actually think this makes the logo better, since it physically shows the “K” “C” joining together, like might happen in a fountain, or if you have a city straddling two states.

    Also, more compliments for how you’ve been running the site. It’s been wonderful.

    Did the same double-take, and I agree that it’s a case where the 5 balance the logo better.

    Whats weird to me is how different the treatments are.

    The 3 from the K flow through and intersect. The next to the left is odd because it connects to the C and intersects. But then the far left doesn’t connect to the C and just floats.

    Feels like a case where the end-visual was prioritized over a “consistent” logic, and this would be one of the only places that people even look close enough to notice haha

    Went back again and even more weirdness.

    So all the bottoms “float” of course – but it’s interesting how following each line has so many different versions of intersecting/overlapping/gaps (which kind of read as shadows but not fully).

    I’d love to hear from the designer because it feels like a case where they probably had like 20 versions with minor different tweaks haha.

    The five streams are for continuity I think. The K and C tie together as five it just follows the flow.

    The Astros have the one cap that I don’t mind the side patch. I would rank that much higher. I also think I’d drop San Diego a spot or two just because it feels like they could have done more. Yellow B for Boston, white (or orange!) squatchee for the Orioles would improve both of those. Minnesota would be much higher on the “I’d wear that” scale without the side patch. I still think the “STL” logo on the Cardinals hat looks stupid. They aren’t top 20 for me. Agreed that the Milwaukee hat is complete garbage.

    The Cards should get a pass on this airport code nonsense you bring up. They’ve used the STL abbreviation longer than the 3 letter airport codes have existed.

    I know the history of St. L. IMO they should have used the tradtional interlocking “StL” from their regular caps, or at the very least (as I did mention), used a smaller, or even lower-case T. With each letter being of equal size and weight, it reminds me more of the airport code than the classic and beautiful logo they already have.

    Even the recent “Rickwood” game used a cap with the smaller T link

    If they didn’t want to use the classic logo (link), because that cap already exists in red, then they should have put the bird on bat logo on the red CC cap (link)

    The hat was lazy. They’ve released STL hats with that Tuscan font before, only difference was the original had a period after the St
    link
    This CC reminds me too much of bones, especially when you see the STL stacked logo in the sticker pack.
    link
    Lastly, they’ve made fashion hats with the Arch logo that looks a lot bett

    Like Baltimore, this could use just a hint of color

    When your team’s colors are black and white, and the whole design idea of the uniform is to play off the regular uniform itself, then you’re somewhat constrained in your options. Besides, unlike the regular cap, this logo has the charcoal gray trim on the lettering.

    and I’d prefer it say “Sox” to “Chi,”

    See above, plus the “Chi” is designed to flow together in a manner evocative of the White Sox logo itself.

    You touched on something with “Only thing that could make this better would be a powder blue squatchee.” I 100% agree, and I think this is the case any time a cap has a contrasting bill. If the button matches the crown instead of the bill, it just looks like a mistake. I don’t know why that is!

    Is the old “Los Dodgers” cap at the extreme bottom?

    I see the Boston hat and I think of UCLA.

    If I were including it in the rankings, it would be in the lower 20s. Not sure if it would be the “worst,” but definitely close to it.

    I got this EXACT hat on a trip to visit my sibling at UCLA 20 years ago. Still in my closet somewhere. Great city connection, you know how much they love LA in Boston…

    Saw the Guardians play in their CCs last night, and my god do they need to make that look permanent. The stakes were high for their unveiling, and the team really met the moment: the cap is perfection, the racing stripes are *chef’s kiss*, and the fans clearly love the whole thing. A permanent look based on the CCs could be one of the franchise’s best looks literally ever given the Guardians’ fairly ho-hum uni history.

    It’s a nice look that just needs a couple of tweaks. It is definitely miles ahead of the very bland branding that the Guardians initially rolled out with the name change. And they’ve done a very smart thing by inundating people attending games with the motif as you wander around the area surrounding the stadium.

    17. CHICAGO WHITE SOX
    “I’d prefer it say “Sox” to “Chi””

    So the normal White Sox cap?

    Doesn’t need to be exactly like their regular cap. They’ve had a ton of variations on “SOX” throughout their history on their caps, so Nike could have created a new one using “Sox” instead of Chi.

    Yeah but how do you make a “Sox” design in line with the Gothic font of the CC jerseys that isn’t the normal cap?

    Why do they have to use the Gothic font? Plenty of CC caps have a different “script logo” than that used on their jersey (just look at Cleveland, for example).

    But if I insist on “Sox” and you insist on keeping the font the same as “Southside,” then a simple tweak to the cap would solve both link

    Is Nike or New Era responsible for cap design. Always been curious of that.
    Thanks for putting this together!

    One thing I’ve noticed with the CC unis and caps is that very frequently there will be a design that feels somewhat complete and organic, and then it’s like a second designer walked into the room and started adding flourishes. Just for the sake of having _more things_. Simplicity was not high on the list of attributes. The Dodgers, Astros and Giants caps are good examples. They all feature competing design elements that absolutely do not need to be there.

    I don’t like the Tigers CC uniforms at all, but I thought if the cap was decent I might buy it. Yeah, that didn’t happen…..

    The Rockies cap looks like something one would purchase at a Colorado gift shop. Not very basebally.

    That very well may be, but it still looks a little funny to me. Too patchy. Not logo-y enough for my taste.

    It’s interesting how much thought you give to the squatchee, because I can tell you I never even think of that is that much of a relevant design element.

    The right color of squatchee makes a big difference to me, same with the brim/ bill and the eyelets. The right combination turns a cap into a piece of headwear beauty.

    Just a general question regarding the CC Uni program. Obviously there are a handful of teams that are not participating. Will those teams get fined by the league or will there be any repercussions? I actually agree with those teams to not sell out for the sake of sales but I realize the league may feel differently.

    It’s just two teams: Oakland (because they’re moving to Vegas in a few years, and will be leaving the Coliseum after this season); they’ll basically be vagabonds in the intervening years, so they and MLB decided there’s no City they can connect to.

    The Yankees are the only other team not participating. Say what you will about them, but good on them for telling Manfred “NO.” Wish other teams had the stones to do that. I don’t believe there will be any fines/repercussions for either, nor should there be. I’m fine with the CC Program for teams who want to participate, but no team should be forced to.

    I just wish the Yankees would have said “NO” to the ridiculous black and white “Players Weekend” unis from 2019 (link and link). Apparently both they and the Dodgers pleaded with MLB not to wear them, but in that case, MLB put their foot down, and proclaimed “You. Must. Wear. The. Ribbon.”

    link

    If only the Yanks could have also said “NO” to the jersey ad.

    “If only the Yanks could have also said “NO” to the jersey ad.”

    Kinda wild to me that the Great Fashion Traditionalists in NYC sold out for a measly $25 million. Why, that barely buys them an over-the-hill fourth starter in this economy.

    And the Dodgers, playing with house money, did the same in what I can only surmise was some kind of tax dodge for Guggenheim.

    I fear for the day some unfortunate team gets saddled with a side patch on their regular hats. If you need a second logo on your hat, you have done something wrong design wise; storytelling gone awry. Less is more.

    Much like the unis, I agree with your likes and dislikes mostly, but we are way off on how I would order them. One thing I am absolutely in agreement with: anything with a side graphic is down voted for me. The Giants should have the GG bridge across the front like the Mets did, and render the SF in plain white.

    When I see them laid out like this, it occurs to me that the CC hats are mostly pretty good. It’s mainly the jerseys from this program that drag it down in most cases.

    I think Baltimore and ChiSox should be higher, even if they don’t have a lot of color. Other than the side patches, I think the Miami and Houston caps look really good.

    Tampa’s hat is pretty popular, but I really don’t like it. Colorado’s and Minnesota’s caps look too much like generic tourist merch to me (although they’d be really good as far as generic tourist merch goes).

    Detroit and Milwaukee are justifiably at the bottom. Nothing against those teams, but the hats are regrettable. Cleveland and Atlanta deserve their high spots.

    But the Brewers baseball-grill logo is absolutely fantastic! They should have used that instead

    When I think of cc caps, my overriding thought is “Cleveland had one of the best unis… its just a shame they didn’t usethe same C on the cap”.

    Not necessarily disagreeing the cap alone should be #1 here, but this ranking therefore sums up the whole cc program: could have been improved with a bit more thought and consistency.

    I have to disagree about the Dodgers’ CC cap logo. The more I look at it, the more I like it. Not to get too storytell-y, but it almost looks like a rocket looping around the LA and taking off. Maybe my imagination is too active, but I love it.

    As a general rule, I think hat logos should be more or less circular/square (equal dimensions right-to-left and top-to-bottom), but if you have to err in one direction, it’s always better to err towards a vertical orientation. Horizontal logos (like most wordmarks here) just don’t look right to me in the context of a cap.

    We get it, you really like the Cleveland CC unis. While I will agree the cap is top notch, the “CLE” jerseys seem amateurish to me.
    Anyway, common theme among the top caps, (which I mostly agree with your rankings) is the white front panel for 4 out of the top 9 (and top 2). The white front really helps the logo pop.
    But you have that UCLA Bruins cap ranked too low ;-) #10 in my book.

    Guardians is literally the most boring, unimaginative design in all of baseball and you have it #1. “Hey I got it, let’s put an C for Cleveland on the hat. Just like our normal everyday hat that has a C for Cleveland on it. Now we’re thinking outside the box boys.” After that pick, I can’t take anything else on this list seriously.

    Many of them you looked just like throwbacks or alternates. The Guardians is a cool hat, it just looks like an alternate hat though. Same with the Braves, just looks like a throwback. Rays, Marlins, Angels, and Astros are all really good. They “Connected” the team to the city. They showed why the team’s name is important to the city and used the teams colors. The Phillies and Twins are cool looking but do not get the team to the city.

    Totally, totally agree with this ranking except for Cubs ranking third and Rays fourth.

    I absolutely love the Cubs’ CC cap. It’s in colors that the team has historically used but is not using now (dark blue and light blue), it retains the timeless circular C, and has the city flag colors and star incorporated. The star even sits in a spot where an equipment manager once put players’ numbers, calling back to an obscure part of Cubs uniform history. Of course a light blue squatchee would be even better, but there’s nothing to complain about as-is.

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