Controversial MLB Umpire Ángel Hernández Set to Retire

Veteran umpire ends career amid longstanding controversies.

by Abdullah Magsi
Controversial MLB Umpire Ángel Hernández Set to Retire
© Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Ángel Hernández, a name synonymous with controversy in Major League Baseball, is set to retire. This decision marks the end of a tumultuous three-decade career that has seen Hernández become perhaps the most polarizing figure in baseball officiating.

His last appearance on the field was on May 9, serving as the home plate umpire during the Chicago White Sox's narrow 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Guardians. The announcement, expected to be made official by MLB on Tuesday, comes after Hernández and the league reached a financial settlement following two weeks of negotiations.

The terms of this settlement were disclosed to USA TODAY Sports by a senior MLB official who requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly before the official announcement.

Career Controversies Unveiled

Hernández's career has been marred by criticism and controversy.

In 2017, he filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against MLB, claiming that his heritage had prevented him from being promoted to crew chief and from being assigned to work in the World Series since 2005 and a League Championship Series in 2016.

However, his claims were dismissed by the U.S. District Court in 2021, and the decision was upheld by the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals last year. The court stated that MLB provided substantial evidence that there was no significant racial disparity in the promotion rates of white and minority umpires.

Throughout his career, Hernández has been frequently criticized for his officiating decisions. His judgment was particularly called into question after an April 12 game this season, where Texas Rangers rookie Wyatt Langford was called out on pitches notably outside the strike zone.

Additionally, Hernández's health has impacted his ability to officiate; he worked only 10 games last season due to a back injury but still missed 161 calls, as tracked by Umpire Auditor. His most contentious moment perhaps came during the 2018 American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Hernández had three calls at first base overturned, prompting scathing criticism from Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez and then-Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, who expressed frustration over Hernández's continued presence in high-stakes games.

Despite the statistical backing from MLB reports, Hernández's reputation among players, managers, and fans has been less than favorable. Now, at 62, he leaves behind a career that, while accomplished, has been overshadowed by disputes and public scrutiny. His retirement turns the page on one of the most contentious chapters in MLB umpiring history.