'Nasty Boys' integral part of 1990 Reds' identity
Spotlight on Dibble, Charlton and Myers in 2nd installment of Costas-hosted series
CINCINNATI -- The 1990 "wire-to-wire" and World Series winning Reds didn't just have colorful personalities. They oozed with characters on and off the field.
Nearly 25 years ago, the Reds that swept the A's in the Fall Classic featured a future Hall of Fame shortstop in Barry Larkin, a superstar outfielder in Eric Davis, a strong starting rotation and a fiery manager in Lou Piniella. And there was the ever-intimidating trio known as "The Nasty Boys," -- Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers.
"Those three guys, I thought they were the most valuable piece of the '90 team," Larkin said of the relievers.
Video: 1990 WS Gm4: Reds sweep 1990 World Series Larkin was among those interviewed for "Nasty Boys: The 1990 Cincinnati Reds," the second installment of a six-episode series called "MLB Network Presents," hosted by Bob Costas. The 60-minute program will air at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday on MLB Network.
When putting together the episode, senior coordinating producer Bruce Cornblatt and producer Jed Tuminaro found that the three relievers emerged as an instant narrative for the identity and personality of this group.
"You knew they were a crazy team and you knew things happen," Tuminaro told MLB.com. "But you have that fear going into the interviews that, 'Was it really as crazy as you thought? Would they run from it now or backpedal from it?' It was anything but. They were really crazier than I thought."
In the program, many fans will instantly recognize many parts of the originally underestimated 91-win Cincinnati team. Not only was it owned by controversial owner Marge Schott, it was a season removed from former manager Pete Rose being suspended for gambling. The manager who replaced Rose, Piniella, had an infamous scene of chucking first base into right field during an argument. Those viewers from Cincinnati might recall with a smile -- or a cringe -- the rap song and video the team made late in the year.
Video: [email protected]: Dibble throws at runner, is ejected There were also subtle inside-the-clubhouse tales such as the times the eccentric Myers would read a sports page spread on the floor while cutting salami and cheese -- with a machete. Teammates were familiar with other weaponry in his locker, like his grenades, and just hoped they weren't live.
"This is where the old expression goes, 'When the facts conflict with the legend, print the legend.' We didn't have that trouble," Cornblatt said. "The legend is the facts. In that respect, it made for great television."
The '90 Reds trailed only the A's in bullpen ERA and led the Majors in strikeouts for relievers. Cincinnati had 50 saves, which tied for first in the National League. Not seen in the numbers was the sheer intimidation the hard-throwing Charlton, Dibble and Myers brought to the mound during the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
Among those interviewed were Larkin, Piniella, outfielder Paul O'Neill, Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman and daytime talk-show host Jerry Springer, who was a revered news anchor for WLWT-TV in Cincinnati when these Reds were winning it all.
Although the interviews with all three Nasty Boys proved good, they were not easy to get.
"They were not automatically publicity hounds to just get them. Jed hunted them down," Cornblatt said.
"They were really difficult," Tuminaro said. "Dibble's been out there the last few years. He has a [radio] show and been around. Charlton lives in Rockport, Texas, and doesn't do much at all. The Reds even said they barely get him to come and do much stuff with them. Randy Myers was the hardest by far. Going in, they said, 'You're not going to get Myers.' We hoped to get archival stuff, little-by-little. I got Dibble. I got Charlton. And honestly, Charlton gets a huge assist with this, because he helped us get Myers.
"It's almost hard to envision it without him now that we've got him."