Referee Ángel Hernández, who unsuccessfully sued MLB for discrimination, retires

NEW YORK – Longtime umpire Ángel Hernández, who unsuccessfully sued Major League Baseball for racial discrimination, is retiring effective immediately.

Over the course of a career that spanned more than three decades, the 62-year-old Hernández was often despised by players, coaches and fans for missed decisions and quick dismissals – some of them in spectacular situations.

Hernández issued a statement via MLB on Monday night, saying he decided he wanted to spend more time with his family.

“Since my first major league game in 1991, I have realized my childhood dream of being a major league umpire. There is nothing better than doing a job that you enjoy. I value the camaraderie of my colleagues and the friendships I have made over time, including those of our locker room staff in different cities,” said Hernández.

“It goes without saying that there have been many positive changes in baseball since I entered the sport, including the expansion and promotion of minorities. I am proud to have been able to play an active role in this goal as a major league umpire.”

Last summer, Hernández lost his racial discrimination lawsuit against MLB for the second time when a federal appeals court declined to retry his case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit affirmed a 2021 district court decision granting summary judgment to MLB.

Hernández filed suit in 2017, claiming he was discriminated against because he had not been assigned to the World Series since 2005 and was passed over for the crew chief position. He served as interim crew chief from 2011 to 2016.

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

Hernández was sidelined until July 31 last season with a back injury. He has made eight appearances this year, including his last game on May 9 between the Cleveland Guardians and the Chicago White Sox.

USA Today and ESPN, citing an anonymous source, reported that Hernández had reached an agreement to leave MLB. USA Today reported that the parties had been negotiating a financial settlement for the past two weeks before coming to an agreement last weekend.

Born in Cuba, Hernández was hired as a major league umpire in 1993. He has worked two World Series (2002, 2005), three All-Star Games (1999, 2009, 2017) and eight League Championship Series, with his last assignment in the LCS in 2016.

In Game 3 of the 2018 AL Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, three calls by Hernández at first base were overturned due to video replays.

Copyright: NPR

Anna Harden

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