One of the hardest-throwing pitchers in baseball, Dibble racked up phenomal strikeout totals and intimidated opposing batters with his explosive fastball, although his career was almost certainly cut short by the tremendous strain he placed on his arm. He also earned a reputation as a hothead (he said he needed to “mature” after throwing a baseball into the stands after a game in April 1991 which struck a first-grade school teacher) who would throw at hitters with little provocation, and was no stranger to reprimands from the league office.
Dibble came into his own in the first half of 1989 as a set-up man for John Franco, although he injured his shoulder in a fight after hitting the Mets’ Tim Teufel with a pitch. The following season,with Franco traded to the Mets for reliever Randy Myers, Dibble teamed up with Myers and Norm Charlton to form the “Nasty Boys”, one of the most fearsome bullpen combos assembled in baseball history. Powered by their dominant relief corps, the Reds went wire-to-wire in winning the NL West. Dibble, along with Myers, was named MVP of the NLCS on the strength of five hitless innings and 10 strikeouts against the Pirates. He added four and two-thirds scoreless innings in the World Series (including a relief win in Game Two) as the Reds swept the favored A’s for their first World Championship since the Big Red Machine won titles in 1975 and 1976.
Dibble racked up 56 saves over the next two years, but soon fell victim to frequent arm problems. He lost his command of the strike zone during an injury-plagued 1993 (42 walks and eight home runs allowed in 41 2/3 innings) and saw his ERA more than double to 6.48. After missing all of 1994 following surgery on his rotator cuff, he struggled to regain his velocity and pitched poorly in brief stints with the White Sox and Brewers in 1995.
After his baseball career, Dibble worked as an analyst for ESPN.