Lord have mercy, we made it to the end. After over 6 months of ridiculousness, the 512 card pool has spat out a champion. And it's perfect. It has rounded corners. It has a hundred creases. It may or may not have survived a thunderstorm. It's just the condition I can afford for an iconic card. Your champion...
The condition of this card was a hamper at first. While comfortably making it through the first two rounds, it didn't light a fire. It's solid performance earned it the 22 seed, behind a cavalcade of Johnny Benches, Pete Roses, and Frank Robinsons. But once the one-on-one matches in the brackets began, Mr. Kluszewski had nary a problem, with the following scores:
11-1 over (43) 1950 Bowman Bob Scheffing
11-4 over (11) 1972 Topps Johnny Bench
9-6 over (6) 1968 Topps Johnny Bench RC
10-2 over (3) 1970 Topps Johnny Bench
14-5 over (50) 1956 Topps Rocky Bridges
8-6 over (1) 1973 Topps Johnny Bench.
About the 1957 Topps Set: 407 cards released in four series. It was the first Topps set to use actual color photos instead of hand-colored portraits and it was the first to introduce the long-standing 2.5"x3.5" size. It included RC's of Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson and the final regular issue of Roy Campanella.
About the uniform: "His mammoth arms made an immediate impact on the Reds. When he was first called up to the big leagues, he couldn't get his arms through the sleeves of his jersey. One story contends that after failing to get his arms into bigger and bigger jerseys, he simply cut off the sleeves at the top to get his arms through. The owners liked the look so much that they ordered all-new sleeveless uniforms to be worn by all of the players." (from mlb.com). From Klu himself: "They got pretty upset, but it was either that or change my swing — and I wasn't about to change my swing." So take that as you wish.
And, for posterity, here's a pic of the card in its proper condition: