MLB Out Another Star as All-Time Awful Umpire Angel Hernandez Retires

Hernandez's retirement is good for individual games, but it's bad for Major League Baseball

MLB umpire Angel Hernandez making a call. The controversial baseball ump retired this week at the age of 62.
Angel Hernandez has stepped away from his post behind the dish.

Cuban-born umpire Angel Hernandez, who has been unsuccessfully suing Major League Baseball for racial discrimination toward minority umpires since 2017, abruptly announced his retirement from baseball on Monday, allegedly after reaching a financial settlement with MLB that likely means his lawsuit against the league is dead.

“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,” the 62-year-old said in a statement. “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. I have decided that I want to spend more time with my family. 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.”

Hernandez, who had three calls at first base overturned via replay in a four-inning span during the 2018 AL Division Series between the Yankees and Red Sox and is a huge reason why many sports fans don’t have a problem with robot umps hitting the diamond ASAP, was unquestionably bad at umpiring baseball games, but he may have been good for a star-starved sport that sorely needs memorable faces.

Unlike MLB home-run leader Kyle Tucker, Hernandez is someone most casual baseball fans could pick out of a lineup. While the reasons for Hernandez’s fame may not be positive, at least he’s an individual with some personality and presence. Now that Hernandez is retired, MLB is a bit more depleted in both of those categories.

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Despite Hernandez striking out with his lawsuit, his lawyer Kevin Murphy told The Athletic that the legal action still led to positive developments in the commissioner’s office.

“That’s another thing that Angel can keep in his heart,” Murphy said. “The changes, not only with getting more opportunities for minority umpires. But he changed the commissioner’s office. Nobody’s going to give him credit for that.”

The commissioner’s office may not be giving Hernandez credit, but it sounds as if they are giving him money to go away. Only time will tell if getting rid of a guy who has blown plenty of calls will wind up being the correct one.

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