Breaking down Angel Hernandez’s most controversial calls

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After a remarkable 33-year journey facing the relentless sun behind home plate, Angel Hernandez is hanging up his mask, marking the end of an era in Major League Baseball. The much-debated umpire has announced his immediate retirement, as reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, concluding a storied three-decade tenure at the highest level of the sport.

Hernandez’s final days on the field were clouded with controversy and legal battles. Notably absent from officiating since May 9, he found himself displaced on Lance Barksdale’s crew by Jacob Metz and embroiled in a lawsuit against the MLB alleging racial discrimination—a claim ultimately dismissed by both district and appeals court judges last year. The Cuban-born umpire reportedly reached a settlement to depart from the majors, bidding farewell after countless games since his inaugural debut in 1991.

In a reflective statement following the announcement of his impending departure, Hernandez expressed gratitude for living out his childhood dream of umpiring in the major leagues. He emphasized the cherished camaraderie with colleagues and friendships forged over the years, while also highlighting the positive strides towards diversity and inclusion within the game.

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Throughout his tenure, Hernandez served as a lightning rod for criticism, drawing ire for his inconsistent strike zone, confrontational demeanor with players, and notorious quick temper. One infamous incident saw him ejecting Chicago Bears legend Steve McMichael from a game at Wrigley Field following McMichael’s public criticism over the stadium’s loudspeaker.

Despite his longevity, Hernandez’s postseason involvement dwindled over the years, with no World Series assignments since 2005 and his last league championship series in 2016. His absence from playoff games fueled frustration, leading to his legal action against the league, driven in part by the financial incentives tied to postseason appearances for umpires.

While Hernandez’s legacy in MLB is undeniable, it is also marred by controversy and debate. As fans and analysts reflect on his tenure, they recount his most contentious calls, cementing his place in baseball lore—a legacy that, for some, evokes mixed emotions and memories.

With Hernandez’s departure, Major League Baseball bids farewell to a polarizing figure whose impact on the game will continue to spark discussion for years to come.

 

Angel Hernandez’s worst calls

Angel Hernandez’s tenure as a Major League Baseball umpire is rife with controversy and memorable moments, often leaving players, coaches, and fans alike scratching their heads or venting their frustrations. Let’s take a look at some instances where Hernandez’s calls became the center of attention:

  1. Alex Rios’ Disputed Call: In a game against the Marlins, Hernandez’s call on Alex Rios being out at a crucial moment denied the White Sox a potential walk-off win. This decision drew the ire of veteran broadcaster Hawk Harrelson and left a lasting impression on fans.
  2. Bryce Harper’s Disagreement: Hernandez and Bryce Harper found themselves at odds when Hernandez called a strike against Harper during a game against the Padres. Harper, known for his keen eye at the plate, vehemently disagreed with the call, sparking a war of words between the two.
  3. Kyle Schwarber’s Theatrics: Hernandez’s controversial strike call against Kyle Schwarber during a game against the Brewers led to Schwarber expressing his frustration with dramatic gestures. Despite the theatrics, Schwarber was ultimately ejected from the game, but the moment captured attention for its intensity.
  4. Ian Kinsler’s Ejection: Ian Kinsler found himself ejected from a game after a seemingly innocuous glance in Hernandez’s direction. This incident highlighted the contentious relationship between players and the umpire.
  5. Wyatt Langford’s Struggles: Hernandez’s questionable strike calls also impacted young players like Wyatt Langford of the Rangers, who fell victim to what many perceived as dubious rulings during his at-bats.

These incidents illustrate Hernandez’s polarizing presence on the field and the frustration felt by those affected by his calls. While he may have retired from umpiring, his legacy as a controversial figure in MLB will endure for years to come.