The photograph, signed by David Ortiz and framed for posterity, is on the wall in Tom and Julie Middlebrooks’ home in Texarkana, Texas.

It marks the moment their son first felt like a major leaguer.

Will Middlebrooks had gotten called up only four days earlier, after the Red Sox put Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list with a strained lower back. He got two hits in his first game, one more in his second, and now, on a sun-splashed Sunday in May, the 23-year-old third baseman was batting with the bases loaded in the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles.

Surely, the kid wouldn’t be expecting a first-pitch curveball, Orioles starter Tommy Hunter figured. But the breaking pitch hung over the plate, and Middlebrooks launched it over the Green Monster and onto the roof of a parking deck on Lansdowne Street to tie the game, 5-5, and send Fenway Park into a frenzy.

As he crossed the plate, Middlebrooks was met first by Ortiz, who raised both arms over his head for a two-handed high-five and a forceful chest bump, the image captured for all time in the photo at the Middlebrooks’ house.

“When I hit that grand slam and Papi’s waiting on me at home plate,” Middlebrooks said yesterday, “that’s something that will stick with me forever. That’s when it hit me, like, man, you’re in the big leagues now.”

In a season in which nearly everything went wrong for the Red Sox, Middlebrooks was the silver lining. Months before anyone expected him to reach the majors, he batted .288 and slugged .509, with 14 doubles and 15 home runs in only 286 plate appearances. If not for the MVP-worthy dominance of Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout, he would’ve received Rookie of the Year consideration before breaking his wrist in August.