Infamous Ump Ángel Hernández Retires Effective Immediately

As first reported by Bob Nightengale and subsequently confirmed by many others, infamous MLB umpire Ángel Hernández has decided to step away immediately. His work behind the plate had long been criticized, but the scrutiny reached new levels this year as his calls at times made it look as though he was living out George Costanza’s days at Play Now.

These strike calls against the Rangers’ Wyatt Langford earlier in the season were among the worst anyone has ever seen.

Hernández himself confirmed his retirement in a statement

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.


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.

The controversial umpire actually filed a racial discrimination suit against MLB in 2017, claiming the league kept him from a crew chief promotion and didn’t allow him to work the World Series because he is Cuban. Mind you, he had previously served on two different World Series crews. The league successfully countered with several strong examples, even requesting Hernandez undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and the two sides eventually worked out a settlement when the ump’s initial suit and subsequent appeal fell short.

Sam Blum of The Athletic was told by Hernández’s lawyer that “He was NOT forced out” by MLB, but Ken Rosenthal learned that the league had approached the umpire about stepping away. Hernández agreed and here we are. A lot of folks are celebrating this development and it’s impossible to argue that the adjudication of the game just got a little better. It’ll get better still with the automated ball-strike system in play, but that’s for another time.

Hernández may have been reviled by many for his calls, but my understanding is that almost everyone really liked him as a person. That makes this even better since now he won’t have all the negativity surrounding him and he can truly enjoy the time with his family. At just 62 years old, he should have plenty of time left to do exactly that. And hey, maybe he can continue doing the job at lower levels because lord knows we need more high school umps.

I can say with all sincerity that I wish nothing but the best for Mr. Hernández in whatever’s next and I’m very glad he made this decision.

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