Milwaukee Sentinel, March 22, 1912:
“If Oscar Stanage had Roger Bresnahan‘s gift of gab he would be universally hailed as the greatest catcher in baseball today,” declared Joe Sugden, former star behind the pads.
“Oscar is there day after day, showing consistent form, and it is his lack of showiness that sends the attention of the stands to other parts of the field.”
“When a man starts to steal is when the Detroit catcher shows his worth. He is speed itself in getting the ball away.”
For his career, Stanage caught 41% of the baserunners attempting to steal against him. The league average was 44%. There’s also the matter of Stanage being an awful offensive player. Stanage put up a career line of .234/.284/.295, including a remarkable .193/.242/.233 season in 400 at-bats in 1914.
As far as I can tell, three players had a reasonable claim to the title “best catcher in baseball” in the Spring of 1912: Roger Bresnahan, Chief Meyers, and Ira Thomas. Bruce Petway was in his prime, too, but was never much of a hitter.
Sugden and Stanage, by the way, both played for the 1912 Tigers, though they never played together. Stanage was the everyday catcher, Sugden was a guy the Tigers pulled out of mothballs for the famous Allan Travers game.