He’s out: Polarizing MLB umpire Angel Hernandez retires

If you're a baseball fan, then you definitely know the name Angel Hernandez, here's a look at a few of Angel's "greatest hits" as the controversial MLB umpire is retiring?

Angel Hernandez, who has served as an umpire in the majors for over three decades, announced his retirement on Monday night.

The 62-year-old Hernandez last worked as the home-plate umpire during a game between the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Guardians on May 9.

Hernandez, who was promoted to a full-time umpire position in 1993, has been at the centre of several controversial moments during his career.

Hernandez issued a statement through MLB on Monday night saying he has decided he wants to spend more time with his family.

“Starting with my first major league game in 1991, I have had the very good experience of living out my childhood dream of umpiring in the major leagues. There is nothing better than working at a profession that you enjoy. I treasured the camaraderie of my colleagues and the friendships I have made along the way, including our locker room attendants in all the various cities,” Hernandez said.

“Needless to say, there have been many positive changes in the game of baseball since I first entered the profession. This includes the expansion and promotion of minorities. I am proud that I was able to be an active participant in that goal while being a major league umpire.”

He served as the crew chief for a game between Oakland and Cleveland in 2013 where a hit by Adam Rosales of the A’s in the ninth inning that appeared to clear the wall and hit a metal railing was ruled a double and not a home run that would have tied the game.

The A’s lost the game and MLB later released a statement saying an “improper call” was made on the play.

Acting as the first-base umpire for Game 3 of the 2018 American League Division Series featuring the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, three calls he made were overturned upon video review.

CC Sabathia, who was the starting pitcher for the Yankees, told reporters after the game: “I don’t think Angel Hernandez should be umping playoff games. He’s absolutely terrible. He was terrible behind the plate today. He was terrible at first base.”

A player poll conducted by ESPN in 2010 found that 22 per cent of those surveyed voted Hernandez as the worst umpire in baseball. Player polls from Sports Illustrated in 2006 and 2011 named Hernandez as the third-worst umpire.

The Cuban-born Hernandez filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against MLB in 2017, alleging he had been overlooked for a crew chief role and assignments for the World Series due to race. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2021 and the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the decision in 2023.

“Hernández has failed to establish a statistically significant disparity between the promotion rates of white and minority umpires,” the 2nd Circuit said in an 11-page decision. “MLB has provided persuasive expert evidence demonstrating that, during the years at issue, the difference in crew chief promotion rates between white and minority umpires was not statistically significant. Hernández offers no explanation as to why MLB’s statistical evidence is unreliable.”

Hernandez claimed then-MLB executive Joe Torre, who made key decisions over umpires, held animosity toward Hernandez dating to Torre’s time as New York Yankees manager.

“Hernandez has failed to show that the criteria Torre used in making crew chief promotion decisions caused the existing disparity between white and minority crew chiefs,” the panel wrote. “Hernandez has made no showing that Torre harbors a bias against racial minorities.”

Hernandez umpired the World Series twice, in 2002 and 2005.

Hernandez’s retirement was the major talking point for the baseball community on social media on Monday.

— With files from The Associated Press.

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