On Monday, Lakers radio play-by-play man John Ireland tweeted out an incredible mural that has been in his house since he and his family moved in years ago, depicting former Dodgers second baseman Steve Sax surrounded by The Three Stooges.
Dilemma: I now live in the house that Steve Sax lived in when the Dodgers won the '88 World Series. This mural (1/4) pic.twitter.com/HacR7Sipkk— John Ireland (@LAIreland) August 7, 2017
According to Ireland, they decided to keep the mural at first but now the house is being renovated, his son is older, and his wife wants to remove it. Which is tricky, seeing as this year the Dodgers look to have a great chance of winning the World Series for the first time since 1988 and fan superstitions could be more important than ever before.
To find out more about where this downright majestic piece of art came from (that’s meant entirely sincerely — this mural is awesome) we reached out to Steve Sax himself and got to the bottom of things.
Sax played for the Dodgers from 1981-1988 before leaving for the Yankees in free agency following LA’s World Series win in the fall of ‘88. He played for the A’s and White Sox as well before retiring and is now a motivational speaker, author, and analyst for MLB Network on Sirius Radio.
(This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.)
John Ireland tweeted a picture of your old mural out, but his wife wants to get rid of it and it’s obviously a bit of a superstitious year for Dodgers fans since it’s been since ’88 and everything might need to stay the same now that they’re doing so well.
So when did you paint the mural? Was it after the World Series or had it been there for a while?
I bought this house … actually, I bought it when it was being constructed in 1984 and this was a game room I had upstairs and there wasn’t much to it other than that I was a big Three Stooges fan and it was a game room, a fun room. So I asked a guy to paint a mural of me and The Three Stooges together and he did.
You’d been a fan of them since you were a kid, just growing up?
Oh yeah, I thought they were years ahead of their time and just loved watching them. So I thought I guess that’s kind of nice to have a mural of The Three Stooges in my house. So this is a game room and the guy painted it, and he painted it right onto the wall!
Since it was in the game room did people comment on it when they were over at the house whether it was teammates or friends just hanging out?
Yeah they did, and I’m a drummer, too, so I had my drums in that room and that’s the room I would go up to and you know I had a big screen TV there and had my drums. It was a fun place to go and it was kind of a talking point. People would go in there and they’d see the mural and they’d go “Oh, what’s that?” so I’d tell them I love the Three Stooges, and that was about it.
Sometimes you don’t need a better reason than that! Especially if it’s just a fun room with people hanging out.
When you sold the house, did you ever think about painting it over before you sold it? Did people comment on it when they were looking at the house?
No, as a matter of fact when people would come see the house — you know I had it for sale when I was a free agent and I loved the Dodgers but I went to New York — so simultaneously I was building a house up in Northern California where I live now, so I had all of this going on at the same time and I thought “you know, when people are coming to the house, I’m going to have to cover it or take it out of there or replace it” and it was actually a selling point for the house.
People liked it and they wanted to keep it there, so that’s exactly what I did I just left it there!
Yeah I would imagine in the LA area …
It’s a selling point! “Hey man, there’s something unique about this house!” I don’t know if they were baseball fans or not but yeah “there’s Steve Sax hanging out with the Three Stooges on the wall, that’s kind of a cool thing I guess we’ll keep it.”
Was it a local artist that did it, just somebody that was helping you work on the house already?
I wish I could remember who did it, I think it was a local artist who painted that thing up there but I can’t remember who did it though. But yeah this was 1984, quite a while ago.
So definitely before that World Series win and the superstition is creeping in here. Now John’s dilemma is that his wife wants him to paint over it while they’re renovating the house … Would you be the superstitious type to leave it if it wasn’t you up there?
Oh, absolutely. No I’m keeping it. If I was a Dodger fan I would be keeping it in there, absolutely right. Something that’s true about athletes, and not just solely limited to baseball players, but athletes are quite superstitious. Sometimes it’s just a little bit below level and sometimes it’s just a subtext of something else of what they’re doing.
Sometimes it’s pretty subliminal, and sometimes it’s not — it’s pretty audacious. But I don’t think just leaving a mural on the wall is going to be much of a problem at all here.
It’s the farthest possible extension of not washing the jersey, basically.
(Laughs) Yeah, yeah.
With the Dodgers blowing everybody away so far this year — they’re setting 50-game stretch records and their pace is incredible — it looks like they’ll at least have a shot at it all. You were a part of the team that won it last for LA, do you have any thoughts on this year’s team?
I think they have an expert shot. I think the addition of Yu Darvish is going to really bolster the starting rotation and take a little bit of pressure off of Clayton Kershaw so he doesn’t have to do it all himself.
Alex Wood was a great find for the team, you know as an unbelievable starter this season he’s kept it up almost all the way through, and their bullpen is really good if not one of the best now because of what they’ve done there as well.
This team, as you said, the way they can score offensively … everybody on their team seems to be a star. Justin Turner’s leading the league in hitting, Corey Seager was Rookie of the Year last season, Bellinger’s going to be the Rookie of the Year this year, and on and on you go.
Chris Taylor was a great find for this team, and nobody know’s his name you know? So I mean this is a team that is just loaded with talent. Great pitching, they catch the ball — great defense, and their bullpen is solid, so you can’t go wrong if you’re picking the Dodgers to win the World Series. A very, very potent team all the way through.