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Uniform Stats, Because...Why Not?

And now, for something completely different.

Instead of focusing on tomorrow's World Series matchup that nobody wanted, why not switch gears entirely? Uniforms!

A quick overview: The A's used four regular uniforms this season. White and black at home, and gray and green on the road. Since the starting pitcher is given the choice of jersey color, here are the choices that each pitcher made throughout the season.

A certain Brandon Davis sent an absurdly detailed uniform tracking spreadsheet to Paul Lukas (the guy who runs the Uni Watch blog), which contained more information about 2010 A's jerseys than you'll ever possibly need. Now, it's obviously a little pointless, and it surely wouldn't meet statistical significance standards, but why not play around with this data somewhat?

The spreadsheet tallies up results by winning percentage, but we'll get better results by sticking to runs scored and runs allowed. Instead of a simple yes-no/win-lose, runs scored/against allows for a more well-defined measuring stick.

First, the offense. I'm going to assume that the offense was the same throughout the season, or more importantly, I'm going to assume that there was no systematic bias in the offensive players for each jersey. In other words, when zoomed out and averaged on the whole, the lineups on green jersey days, for example, weren't significantly better or worse than white jersey lineups. That said, there is still one source of bias that I'll need to correct for—home/road performance. Thankfully, that's easy enough to apply an adjustment factor for. And the results?


After accounting for home/road performance, the clear winner is the gray away jerseys. The offense almost scored as many runs on the road with the grays as they did at home. That performance is even more impressive, because the home/road production difference was rather sharp this year. According to their Pythagorean expectation, the A's played like a 101-win team at home, and a 72-win team on the road.

Now, measuring pitching is more difficult. I can't make the same assumptions about bias, because there is a bias this time around—different pitchers choose different jerseys. It wouldn't make sense to sum up the runs allowed like I did for the offense. For example, the black jerseys were only worn by Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and Justin Duchscherer. Four very talented pitchers, without any of the less-talented players. Instead, I separated it out by starting pitcher, and made the assumption that the bullpen didn't change by jersey color.

There's a movement against black jerseys on teams that don't have black as an official color, just for black's sake (here, and here). Some bad news on that front—all three of the full-time starters that chose black performed a whole lot better while wearing it.


Then again, all of this black alternate jersey stuff might be for nothing, as it's rumored that the A's are scrapping the black jersey for a throwback-style gold one next year. Let's hope these guys can adapt.