Dark Star died five years ago on June 1. This remains a void in the life of his friends and radio listeners because the Darkman was a true character. Those people are hard to find.

There is a large group of folks in St. Cloud going through the same absence this past week. Dick Rengel, 69, died on Memorial Day and it was said to be suddenly, even though he was dealing with both pancreatic cancer and heart problems.

“Dirty Dick” earned his nickname in his youth with a streaking exploit in downtown St. Cloud that allowed him to win $2.

Rengel was drafted after high school at St. Cloud Tech and served in the Army during the Vietnam War. According to his obit, Dick was “fortunate” to serve in Munich and Stuttgart, Germany.

On his discharge, he enrolled at St. Cloud State and became a devoted follower of Huskies sports. He had strong opinions on the Twins and the Vikings, and was known to share those at length over beverages at the Eagles Club Aerie 622 in St. Cloud.

A number of years ago, Rengel found another method for entertaining his friends:

He went to a public blogging forum and started a regular feature called “The Rant” by Dirty Dick Rengel. He would make his sports observations, perhaps add a political note or two, and then include trivia questions and factoids.

The Rant authored in mid-May included a trivia question that he had figured might be too tough for “Wisconsinites, Stearns and Benton County residents and Apollo [High School] pretend graduates.”

Rengel’s blog gained enough of a following that he developed regular contributors. He was a hardcore Twins backer and had joined those disillusioned with Joe Mauer.

He was excited about the first-place Twins in a recent Rant, stating he was even willing to give Mauer “a little love — very little,” and then complained about Joe’s lack of power.

Rengel’s love for baseball carried over to umpiring and this was included in his obit: “He umpired for years and never ejected a player.”

You had to be a unique character when that’s a claim to fame.

PATRICK'S PLUS THREE

Worst Minnesota pro drafts of the 2000s:

2011 Twins: One player among 33 signed has reached the Twins. That was Jason Wheeler, here 72 hours last week before being cut and then sold for a few bucks to the Dodgers for minor legue duty.

2005 Vikings: They took Troy Williamson, the replacement for Randy Moss, and Erasmus James, a much-needed sack master, in the first round. No wonder it was Mike Tice’s last year.

2009 Timberwolves: Ndubi Ebi, Wesley Johnson, et al … nothing can top taking point guards at Nos. 5 and 6 without either one being Stephen Curry.

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