Joe West Defends Ángel Hernández's Career As Umpire: 'He Was Good At It'

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

To the rejoice of many MLB fans, players and coaches, scrutinized umpire Ángel Hernández officially announced his retirement from baseball on Monday.

Hernández gained a reputation as one of MLB's most inaccurate umpires thanks to a laundry list of on-field mistakes that would often go viral in the social media age.

Fellow retired (and highly criticized) umpire Joe West defended Hernández's legacy on the diamond on Tuesday.

"I think ya'll gave him a raw deal," West said on 670 The Score in Chicago. "I will tell you this. He retired this week, and he put out a statement. And his statement was that he enjoyed what he did for all these years. And whether you want to believe it or not, he was good at it.

"You can say, well, he missed this pitch or he missed that pitch. But you can do that with anybody. When you get on a rant like that, it's easy to follow a guy and say, 'Oh, he missed this pitch.'"

Per Umpire Scorecards, Hernández ranked in the 22nd percentile in accuracy (93.2%) and in the 12th percentile in accuracy above expected (0.39%) when stacked up against other umpires in 2024. Last season, Hernández didn't work his first game until August but missed 161 calls in 10 games.

"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," Hernandez said in a statement when announcing his retirement. "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."

The 62-year-old Hernández cited spending more time with his family as the reason for retirement.


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Tom Dierberger

TOM DIERBERGER

Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.