Steven's dad, Dan, has always had a thing for baseball collectibles. One of Dan's prized baseball collectible possessions was an item affectionately called "The Big Picture." It is a picture of the "500 Home Run Club," with signatures from each hitter next to his picture.
The Big Picture includes such greats as: (top row, left to right) Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey, Reggie Jackson, Eddie Matthews, Mike Schmidt, Ernie Banks, (bottom row, left to right) Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Ted Williams.
When Steven was about 12 years old, he and Dan were playing a computer game called "Old Time Baseball." Steven was losing 10-0 in the 8th inning.
Never one to give up hope even in the face of impossible odds, Steven told his dad, "If I come back and win, I want The Big Picture." Dan looked at the score of the game and figured it was a pretty safe bet to make. So they shook on it.
Twelve-year-old Steven then proceeded to come back and win the game, 11-10. For the next sixteen years, Steven and Dan would joke about the fact that Steven was the rightful owner of The Big Picture -- he won it, fair and square -- but The Big Picture remained at his parents' house (mostly because we didn't have a place to put it!)
But now, I am pleased to report that, sixteen years later, Dan has finally made good on his bet. When they visited for Thanksgiving, Dan officially gave us The Big Picture.
Steven immediately went out and bought a stud finder so we could hang up The Big Picture in a place of honor.
He had to get it perfectly level, of course. Nothing less than perfect for The Big Picture, you know.
The Big Picture is now hanging in the hallway right outside of our bedroom. (I think Steven might even reverently touch the frame each morning as he walks out the door to work, in Notre-Dame-Play-Like-A-Champion-Today fashion).
Ahh, there we go. Sluggers to greet us each morning as we wake.
So, a big thank you to twelve-year-old Steven Steele for his youthful perseverance, and another big thank you to Dan Steele for carefully preserving The Big Picture for us for almost two decades. I think Steven really, really likes it.