Controversial umpire Angel Hernandez to retire

Tue May 28 12:23am ET
Field Level Media

Umpire Angel Hernandez, who stirred controversy on the field with questionable calls and in court against Major League Baseball, is retiring, he said Monday night, confirming what numerous outlets reported.

Hernandez, who debuted as a major league umpire in 1991 and was hired full-time two years later, last worked a game May 9 in Chicago. Since then, reports indicated that he and MLB were negotiating a financial agreement.

Hernandez, 62, drew widespread criticism from fans and sometimes among players for appearing to miss calls.

Last September, Bryce Harper was ejected after Hernandez, who was umpiring at third base, ruled that Harper failed to check his swing for a third strike.

"Angel in the middle of something again. It's every year, same story, same thing. I'm probably going to get fined for being right, again," Harper said after that game.

Off the field, the Cuban-born Hernandez sued MLB in 2017, alleging racial discrimination was behind his failure to be named an umpiring crew chief and receive increased postseason assignments. He had not worked in a World Series since 2005, although he worked a league championship series in 2016.

The lawsuit was tossed in district court, and an appeals court upheld that decision in 2023.

Notably, MLB cited an array of Hernandez's apparent missed calls in arguing its case.

Hernandez's attorney, Kevin Murphy, texted The Athletic that the umpire "was NOT forced out."

In a statement, Hernandez said he "decided that I want to spend more time with my family" and referred to "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."

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