Southsider Voice writer
Growing up 40 miles from New York City, Steve Nicholas dreamed of playing hockey and being a race car driver, but he ended up doing other things that proved to be just as fulfilling.
The Southside handyman, who runs a home maintenance company, has lived in Indiana since 1972, and later that decade settled into his current residence.
Nicholas, whose parents reside in Florida now, developed a liking for sports as a youth in Dover, N.J., an interest that is still strong.
“My dad was very interested in sports and liked the Mets,” he said. The Mets and sports just grew on Nicholas, whose love of numbers got him interested in the statistical part of sports. “It became part of my world.”
Nicholas would go to Shea Stadium to see the Mets and seek autographs of players whose pictures he had ripped out of a magazine. “It was fun for me.”
He married in the 1980s and soon came the birth of his daughter, Kelly. It was at this time he actively began to seek autographs of athletes. He has collected thousands of autographs over the years, attending nearly as many sporting events to bag signatures.
For the past several years he has become a regular at Victory Field, where he can often be seen engaging in his favorite pastime of getting the attention of players before games.
“I have around 60,000 autographs from starting lineups and people who were on the cover of ‘Sports Illustrated’ magazines,” he said.
Nicholas said the hobby takes patience and diligence. “It is time-consuming, and I try to find the quickest way to gain access to the players. It is the meeting of the players and that connection that you form that is fun.”
Surprisingly, his most prized autograph is not of someone who plays baseball or hockey, his first and favorite sport. His favorite comes courtesy of legendary musician Roger Waters, co-founder of the famed progressive rock group Pink Floyd.
Waters came to Indianapolis in 2012 with his “The Wall Live Tour” to perform the iconic “The Wall” album in its entirety. When Waters came upon nearly 100 fans lined up at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Nicholas recalled that Waters stopped his car and agreed to sign one item per person. Waters signed Nicholas’ Pink Floyd album “The Dark Side of the Moon.”
Nicholas’ other passion is photography, which started out as a hobby when taking pictures of his daughter.
“My favorite race cars to shoot are ones from Formula 1. My first love was cars ... when my dad took me to midget races. I just fell in love with the sport. It is still my favorite sport.”