Sunday, August 22, 2010

Remembering the 1990 Reds: The Nasty Boys

Continuing this mini-series remembering the 1990 Reds, I need to pay tribute to the Nasty Boys. That year the Cincinnati bullpen was amazing, and they were led by the trio of Rob Dibble, Randy Myers, and Norm Charlton. Early in that season Randy Myers commented, "Man, this is a nasty group." And the Nasty Boys were born.

Even though I followed the Reds everyday and recognized all of their players, I could tell that outside of Ohio when people thought of the Cincinnati Reds, they thought of the Nasty Boys. Those three flamethrowers embodied the identity of the 1990 Reds.

Back in those days, it was kind of a new thing to have three power arms in the bullpen who could throw 95+ miles per hour. In some ways, the Nasty Boys model ushered in a new era of bullpens.

In the 1990 World Series, the Nasty Boys cemented their place in history by going 8.2 innings with no earned runs, a win, and a save as the Reds swept the A's.

Today also happens to be the day that Lou Piniella has retired from managing. Since he was the manager of those 1990 Reds, I figured I'd give a few memories of him as well. First off, I was just 10 during that season. I wasn't paying much attention to the manager in those days. Although, looking back on it, I think it's safe to say he was a better manager than Pete Rose (who had guided the Reds to four straight 2nd place finishes before Piniella took over). Piniella knew how to rest his players going through a 162 game season; and I think Rose was more interested in the here and now if you know what I mean...

My enduring memory of Lou Piniella as the Reds manager--and the Nasty Boys for that matter--didn't come during 1990. It came two years later in 1992. At the time, in my mind Rob Dibble was one of the toughest guys on the planet. But when I learned that an angry Piniella wrestled with Dibble in the locker room, I had a whole new respect for Piniella's fire. I never forgot it.

Congrats to Lou Piniella on a great career. And thanks in large part to the Nasty Boys, he was a World Series-winning manager.

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