Best Cincinnati Reds Ever: Rob Dibble v. Danny Graves

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First Round Matchup No. 5 Rob Dibble v. No. 12 Danny Graves


Rob Dibble spent the first six seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Reds and dominated in five of them — including his rookie season in 1988. As a member of the Nasty Boys in 1990, Dibble was an All-Star, saved 11 games, struck out 136 batters and allowed just 62 hits in 98 innings. Oh and he had a team-best 1.74 ERA. One could make the case he was the most dominating pitcher on the 1990 World Series winning roster.

But he followed this up in 1991 with another commanding season. His ERA jumped to 3.17 but saved a career-best 31 games, struck out 124 batters in 82 1/3 innings and was named to his second of two career All-Star teams.

He finished his Reds career appearing in 354 career games, notching 88 saves and striking out 619 batters in just 450 2/3 innings — a blistering 12.4 K/9. He only allowed 316 hits and held a 2.74 ERA.

However, his already turbid control plummeted in his final season with the Reds when he walked 42 batters in 41 2/3 innings. It was even worse in 1995 when he walked 46 batters in 26 2/3 innings with the White Sox and Brewers. He was then forced out of baseball at age 31.

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But for five seasons, Dibble was arguably the best — and most intimidating — relief pitcher in the Reds’s bullpen and even made a brief case as the best pitcher on the entire staff.

Dibble did not allow a run in 9 2/3 postseason innings, while winning the NLCS MVP after he struck out 10 batters and did not allow a hit across five frames.

He had the eye-catching high leg kick, had a fastball that toed around triple digits and, of course, brawled with his former manager Lou Piniella. But ultimately, the former first round pick had a fastball rivaled by few others and had a way — albeit eccentric — of getting the opposition out.


As bad as Danny Graves was, he was actually kind of good. If you can think of a better way to explain the former Cincinnati Reds closer, I’m all ears. In all seriousness, saved 182 games and made two All-Star appearances in his nine-year career with the Reds.

Maybe his best season came in 2000 — as a 26 year old — when he made his first All-Star team pitching 91 1/3 innings, winning 10 games, saving 30 and striking out 53 batters. He went on to save 32 games in each of the next two seasons, spent a disastrous season as a starter in 2003, before returning to form in 2004 by making another All-Star appearance and notching a career-high 41 saves.

His career ERA with the Reds is 3.94, but it is hindered by his 26-start season when he had a 5.33 ERA in 169 innings. His career strikeout rate leaves plenty to be desired striking out just 429 batters in 808 1/3 career innings. He wasn’t a strikeout-artist but wasn’t all that effective preventing hits either. His 9.5 (9.4 with Cincinnati) career H/9 was subpar and he often held a 10+ H/9 at season’s end. He also sported a very undesirable 3.0 BB/9 ratio.

He was a popular among Reds fans, but typically for the wrong reasons. He was cheered, but more often booed and he didn’t always take to the criticism. But he was a 40-save closer for the Reds, so that has to stand for something.

Next: Find the full bracket here!

Another two-reliever matchup as another Nasty Boy takes on former good but bad closer. Let us know what you think and don’t forget to vote.

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