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Dodgers All-Star rookies: Steve Sax, 1982

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Sax had big shoes to fill in 1982, and fill them he did. Sax was by far the best of all The Infield replacements, beginning with an All-Star campaign in his rookie season.

Yasiel Puig is vying to become the sixth Dodgers rookie to make the All-Star team, and we will find out Thursday afternoon if he wins the Final Vote in the National League. But for now, let's look back at the third Dodgers rookie All-Star: second baseman Steve Sax, in 1982.

Sax made his major league debut in 1981 after the players strike ended and played quite a bit for an injured Davey Lopes in the second half. Sax started 29 of the final 45 games of the regular season at second base, but played in only four postseason games as a reserve as the Dodgers marched toward their fifth World Series title.

That World Series title was the final stage for The Infield, after Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey played together for 8½ years. Lopes was the first to go, traded in February 1982 to the Athletics for minor league infielder Lance Hudson, who would never play in the majors.

The move was made for Sax, who made a difference right out of the gate. He brought an energy to the team and took over at the leadoff spot.

Sax at the break was hitting .279/.341/.340 and was fifth in the National League with 100 hits and fifth with 32 steals (note: Sax was only nine steals behind NL leader Lonnie Smith, while American League leader Rickey Henderson had 84 steals in 88 games at the break, on his way to an MLB record 130 thefts that season).

Manny Trillo of the Phillies was voted to start at second base for the National League, and manager Tommy Lasorda added Sax to the roster as a backup.

After Trillo singled in the fifth inning, Sax was brought in as a pinch runner with teammate Dusty Baker batting and Floyd Bannister on the mound. Sax tried to steal second base, but was thrown out by Carlton Fisk.

Sax played the final four innings at second base, and had an infield single off Dan Quisenberry in the seventh inning.

Sax finished the 1982 season batting .282/.335/.359 with 49 stolen bases and 88 runs scored. He was voted NL Rookie of the Year, the fourth straight Dodger to win the award and 11th Dodger overall to win it (the Dodgers to date have won 16 Rookie of the Year awards, more than any other team).

Sax was a fixture for the Dodgers at second base and at the top of the lineup through the 1988 season, then finished off his career with the Yankees, White Sox and Athletics.

He made five All-Star teams in his career, twice as a starter (1983, 1990), and was 3-for-7 (.429) with a walk, a run scored, two runs batted in and three stolen bases. In three All-Star Games as a Dodger (1982, 1983, 1986) Sax was 3-for-5.

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