I fully agree.I don't think it gets us anywhere to throw generalizations about. I haven't talked about "these people." I've talked about a particular singer I think is superb, and I've said why, in some detail now.
I don't generally "ask technical questions" either when I hear singers. I merely hear their technical skill, of which I consider myself a pretty good judge. You asked, listening to Stracciari, "but why?" I did my darnedest to tell you why. If you don't hear the things I hear, you might keep listening - or, if you don't want to hear or learn, not listen. That's your prerogative. Enjoy whatever you want to enjoy. I don't care. But I'm not interested in arguments which are not arguments for or about anything except your inability to see what I'm talking about.
I could take you, bar by bar, through a Stracciari performance of "Largo al factotum" (he made several recordings) such as this one:and show you the points of vocal superiority to this one by Bruscantini:It would still be perfectly legitimate for you to prefer Bruscantini (a fine singer, certainly) on grounds of timbre preference or interpretation. Obviously the recorded sound is superior, if that is an issue for you.
As for your comparison of singers with athletes breaking the records of their predecessors, music is not athletics. It should be obvious that not everything improves with time. You might as well say that Mozart was a great composer in his time, but that Mozart's times have been surpassed. I'll remind you of that next time you put down Wagner.
Stracciari's baritone voice was as beautiful as they get, rounder and fuller than the voice of his contemporaries Ruffo, Molinari, de Luca or Amato, and with stronger low notes than a Battistini. His capacity to sing legato was legendary. Let me quote Rodolfo Celletti: "The voice was velvety and delicate, uniform in all registers, with brilliant top notes, and strong low notes. Wonderful technique: impeccable emission, perfect diction, elegant phrasing, flawless musicality".
On the other hand, he was sometimes considered by the critics as too cold, too restrained on stage, centered in a quest for vocal perfection. In my view, however, he sang his roles, and especially Verdi's roles, just with the right balance between the traditional Belcanto technique, and the dramatic expressiveness favored in the early 20th century.
I listen frequently to Stracciari's arias, and sometimes also to his complete recordings of "Rigoletto" and "Barbiere". But perhaps my favorite piece from him is this one: