The Dodgers broke up baseball’s longest-running infield by trading second baseman Davey Lopes following their 1981 World Championship in order to give Sax a chance. Sax responded by winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1982, the fourth consecutive season the honor was earned by a Dodger; he hit .282, set a Dodger rookie record with 49 stolen bases, and led the club with 638 at-bats, 88 runs, and 180 hits.
An enthusiastic player, Sax once broke coach Joey Amalfitano‘s finger with a high five while rounding third base on a game-winning homer. In 1983, he mysteriously became unable to make throws to first on easy plays, prompting a clubhouse exchange between manager Tom Lasorda and third baseman Pedro Guerrero: “Pedro, what do you think about when the ball is hit?” Answered Guerrero, “First I think, `I hope they don’t hit it to me.’ Then I think `I hope they don’t hit to Sax.’ “
A 25-game hitting streak in September 1986 brought Sax within two points of a batting title; he finished at .332, as Tim Raines batted .334.
Sax became a free agent after the Dodgers’ 1988 World Championship and signed with the Yankees. Steve and older brother Dave, a catcher, played on the same minor league team for four straight seasons, and Dave had brief stays with the Dodgers in 1982 and 1983.