June 11, 2023

The ‘conscience’ and the 1990 Minnesota Twins

I was watching the original Star Trek series the other day, as I often do, and happened to catch one of its better episodes, the Shakespeare-themed, “Conscience of the King,” which centers on Captain Kirk’s suspicions about the lead actor of a traveling theater company invited aboard the Enterprise.

Former actor and professor Richard Bruce Hyde. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Kirk believes the actor to be the notorious Kodos the Executioner, the former leader of an Earth colony once facing starvation. In Kodos’ mixed up logic, he decided to put to death 4,000 people in order to save the remaining 4,000. Kirk, at a much earlier age, witnessed those killings, as did Lt. Kevin Riley, also serving aboard the Enterprise.

For Kirk, his efforts to uncover the true identity of the actor are about justice; for Riley, it’s about revenge as several family members were slaughtered by Kodos.

Riley was played by Richard Bruce Hyde, who had a modest acting career in the 1960s, then embarked on a life of study, finally earning a doctorate in rhetoric from the University of Southern California in 1990. He would later teach at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota until his retirement.

“His academic interests were in the study of dialogue, (philosopher) Martin Heidegger’s contributions to communication theory and ontological rhetoric,” Hyde’s obituary reads in the St. Cloud Times. Hyde died from cancer at 74 in October 2015.

While the Minnesota-bound Hyde successfully defended his dissertation in 1990, the Jekyll-and-Hyde Twins were on full display the same season. The Twins were an incredible 21-7 in May of that year and stood at 30-22 as the month was about to change. And then June finally arrived and it got ugly in a hurry as the Twins lost the next 13 of 14 games, including nine in a row.

The Star Tribune captured the mood of the team after the ninth loss.

“There is a notable silence in the clubhouse these days, a silence borne of frustration, disappointment and bewilderment.”

Following one win in that stretch of games, the Twins went back to losing.

“Just when it seems the Twins cannot get any worse, they show their potential toward that end is boundless,” the Star Tribune reported.

After a 21-7 May, the Twins went 7-21 in June and never recovered, finally ending the season in last place at 74-88.

The Twins won the World Series in 1987, had a very good record in 1988, played .500 ball in 1989, bottomed out in 1990 and won it all in 1991.

Extra innings …

-Here comes the rooster: The Twins, down 3-0 late in Saturday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, got on the board with a Trevor Larnach home run, a Carlos Correa grand slam, a Max Kepler three-run dinger and finally an Alex Kirilloff double to blast the Jays 9-4 to win the game and the series.

The Hahn/Cock sculpture, Walker Art Center, downtown Minneapolis.

The Twins go for the sweep on Sunday. Louie Varland gets the ball.

Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.