Reviled Umpire Ángel Hernández Announces Abrupt Retirement From MLB

Ángel Hernández, long considered to be one of the worst umpires working in MLB, has decided to call it quits, releasing a statement late Monday night.
May 1, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA;  Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez during the game between the Houston Astros and the Cleveland Guardians at Minute Maid Park.
May 1, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez during the game between the Houston Astros and the Cleveland Guardians at Minute Maid Park. / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Umpire Ángel Hernández has retired from MLB, he announced Monday night.

Hernández, who had been working in the big leagues since 1991, was long considered to be one of baseball's most inconsistent and frustrating umpires. Still, he stuck around for over 30 years, racking up assignments in the World Series, ALCS, NLCS, All-Star Game and World Baseball Classic.

In conjunction with MLB, Hernández released a statement detailed why he decided to call it quits two months into the 2024 regular season.

“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,” Hernández said in the 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.”

USA Today's Bob Nightengale first reported that Hernández was retiring, a few hours before the veteran umpire made things official.

According to multiple reports, Hernández and the league had been negotiating a financial settlement since early May, before finally striking a deal this weekend. The 62-year-old worked his final game on May 9.

Hernández missed the first half of the 2023 season with a back injury, then returned and was pegged as MLB's worst-rated umpire by year's end.

That was nothing new for Hernández, who was constantly reviled by fans, players and managers alike. The "Incidents" section on his Wikipedia page is disproportionally long, detailing a handful of his errant ejections, critical missed calls and personal beefs.

Hernández also made waves when he filed a federal lawsuit against MLB, alleging that racial discrimination prevented him from working World Series games and earning crew chief promotions. The courts eventually ruled in favor of MLB in 2021, absolving the league of any wrongdoing.

Whether it's Pedro Martinez, CC Sabathia, Ian Kinsler, Joe Torre, Kyle Schwarber or any number of fans online, many are surely happy to see Hernández go. Between him and Joe West, the most notable umpire boogeymen of the 21st century have been extinguished, leaving C.B. Bucknor and Laz Diaz as the new biggest targets of vitriol moving forward.

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Sam Connon is a Staff Writer for Fastball on the Sports Illustrated/FanNation networks. He previously covered UCLA Athletics for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's All Bruins, 247Sports' Bruin Report Online, Rivals' Bruin Blitz, the Bleav Podcast Network and the Daily Bruin, with his work as a sports columnist receiving awards from the College Media Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Connon also wrote for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's New England Patriots site, Patriots Country, and he was on the Patriots and Boston Red Sox beats at Prime Time Sports Talk.