Statistics can reveal much/Paul Peterson

It’s been said that statistics are for losers.

That line has been used in one form or another by several notable sports figures, most prominently Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers, baseball Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson of the Detroit Tigers and college basketball legend John Wooden of UCLA.

All the above legendary coaches stressed team success ahead of individual glory and their records clearly showed that.

You only have to look at the inflated stats of current Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford as a prime example of stats not being a true barometer.

Throwing 50 or more passes a game while his team was trailing most of the time, Stafford already has a couple of 5,000-yard seasons in his dossier.

But how much do they mean? Not much when you look at the won-loss column of the Lions in those seasons.

Or take a look at the stats put up by former Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder last year.

The numbers tell you that Fielder batted .279, hit 25 homers and batted in 106 runs with an OBP of .362. Not bad for a cleanup hitter, some say.

But the stats don’t tell you that the slow-footed Fielder often didn’t deliver in the clutch (especially in the postseason). Or that his fielding was average at best … and his baserunning bordered on comical at times.

But I believe that career stats can be an accurate reflection of a player’s worth at any level.

You only have to look at the career stats put up by several Copper Country high school athletes this past season.

On the basketball scene, there were several players who passed the coveted 1,000-point mark.

Julia Daavettila of Dollar Bay, Elisa Jurmu of Houghton and Madi Swanson of L’Anse all reached that coveted level on the girls’ side. Hancock’s Alex Almquist and Jimmy Veker of L’Anse did likewise in the boys ranks.

Scoring 1,000 points in a career is a testament to consistency, durability and excellence. But I can tick off the names of many excellent players (girls and boys) who didn’t score 1,000 points.

Yet, most of them were very good performers who made their respective teams better with their play.

Houghton High hockey standout Ray Brice broke the school record for points in a career this season, surpassing Chuck Lower.

Brice’s totals put him in the elevated company of Pete Rouleau of Hancock and Marc Pomroy of Calumet. Rouleau still holds the local record for career points.

The above stats are meaningful, certainly much more than millionaire so-called superstars like Stafford and Fielder.