Angel Hernandez to retire

soxhop411

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Ángel Hernández, the polarizing veteran umpire who has drawn the wrath and exasperation from players, managers and fans alike over three decades, is retiring Tuesday from Major League Baseball, a high-ranking baseball official told USA TODAY Sports.

The official spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity since he was not granted permission to speak publicly before MLB makes the announcement official Tuesday.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/columnist/bob-nightengale/2024/05/27/angel-hernandez-retires-mlb-umpire-stats/73873676007/
 

Boston Brawler

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Good riddance.
Hope he has a long, healthy retirement. Also hope he gets to see the robots do his job better than him.
 

jon abbey

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It takes a lot to get me to quote Michael Kay, but 'see ya!!!'.
 

shaggydog2000

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I think this article was linked in another thread:

https://www.nytimes.com/athletic/5513075/2024/05/24/mlb-umpire-angel-hernandez-reputation/

Basically, he's not the absolute worst in terms of ball/strike calls, but he tends to cluster bad calls and regularly has real standout bad calls. He is genuinely well liked by other umps and managers as a person, but he escalates situations instead of de-escalating them. He doubles down on his bad calls instead of admitting a mistake, and makes himself the center of attention when he works games.

According to this article, MLB negotiated a package for him to go away over the last two weeks:

https://www.nytimes.com/athletic/5522848/2024/05/27/angel-hernandez-umpire-retirement/

He was bad at his job. Maybe not the absolute worst at everything, but in total had no strengths and glaring weaknesses. But maybe he is a good dude. May he take his settlement and have a nice time on the beach, golf course, or working the grill with his loved ones.
 
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cheesypoofs

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Now, he’s gone from the game, escaping the ridicule and mockery that long has followed him.
Hah! He may be retiring from ruining baseball games but the ridicule and mockery aren't; all that will follow him to the grave. Not sorry-unlike his paychecks he earned the scorn.
 

E5 Yaz

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Angel Hernandez has confirmed his retirement in a statement, which reads:
"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.
"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."
 

jacklamabe65

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My grandfather, who attended the opening game at Fenway in 1912, used to bring out "the old chestnuts" that the Royal Rooters frequently used on umpires back in the day. Given this thread, here are two "old chestnut" favorites for the worst umpire I've ever seen in sixty years of following MLB baseball.

* "Hey, Ump! I've seen better eyes on a potato!"
* "Hwy, Ump! If you had one more eye - you'd be Cyclops!"
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Angel Hernandez has confirmed his retirement in a statement, which reads:
"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.
"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."
Umping was his childhood dream? You’ve got to be shitting me. And good on him for being friends with clubhouse attendants. A group that is notoriously difficult to befriend, considering their job is to do whatever the umps need.
How do you figure? They can hide from him pretty much any time they want to.
He will call them out, whether or not he sees them.
 

joe dokes

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Ángel Hernández, the polarizing veteran umpire who has drawn the wrath and exasperation from players, managers and fans alike over three decades, is retiring Tuesday from Major League Baseball, a high-ranking baseball official told USA TODAY Sports.

The official spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity since he was not granted permission to speak publicly before MLB makes the announcement official Tuesday.
Everyone agreeing about him is not really my definition of "polarizing." Seems more like a unifying force.
 

Harry Hooper

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I believe the old umpires' union was described once as the most exclusive union in the world. According to Wikipedia, the MLBUA has 76 members. Is there a smaller union out there?
 

bob burda

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Umping was his childhood dream? You’ve got to be shitting me.
Apologies for cutting your post - I think the “you’ve got to be shitting me” reaction is legit for something that smacks of BS like this, but I watched this guy for yrs and I actually think it’s genuine. My reaction was “I’ll bet (eyeroll).”

There is a kind of person strongly attracted “regal command” type of authority, where you can issue commands that are controlling in the moment with an enforcement structure in place to back it up. In my own lived experience, the roles where I’ve seen this (with others) would be police officer and trial court judge - where you can just give an “off with their heads!” style command and have it stick. Yeah, it can be appealed and overturned but in many cases the outcome from it isn’t reversible, even when there’s been an obvious error. People who are into that aspect of this kind of work suck at it. A careful and sober use of that kind of power is what is needed, and the ones who are into it can’t resist whatever authoritarian impulses they have.

So let’s say you’re a young kid who LOVES baseball, probably sees you’re not going to be one of the better players, but you also crave that kind of regal command authority - so yes, “baseball umpire” could be really appealing. And in Angel’s case this idea isn’t some random philosophical/psychological musing by me, but was manifest in his behavior. This guy clearly loved to flaunt his authority, reveled in it, and kicked and screamed yrs ago, like an adolescent losing car privileges, when MLB tried to limit his role and ability to do it on the biggest stages. The bad calls were reason enough to dislike his work, but the psychopathology he had surrounding his misuse of authority was the thing that made him insufferable.

“I wanted to do it since forever” could be BS like you say, but to me it’s just another piece of evidence to throw in the aggregator on why this guy was the worst umpire of his generation. Good riddance.
 

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Van Everyman

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“I wanted to do it since forever” could be BS like you say, but to me it’s just another piece of evidence to throw in the aggregator on why this guy was the worst umpire of his generation. Good riddance.
And yet, we have an extremely well researched 25 minute video posted upthread that shows that's not the case and that our view of him is almost completely warped by 1) a handful of high profile disputed calls (many of which weren't even wrong) and 2) that box on your TV screen (which is also not correct a good chunk of the time), and 3) society's knee-jerk belief that racial discrimination suits are--at least some of the time--an excuse for poor performance (note: I am not accusing you of anything -- my own dislike of Hernandez was probably based on these three factors as well).

Long and the short of it: Hernandez is not even a bad umpire according to multiple official and unofficial tracking systems. MLB did stop giving him premium assignments but it sounds like it was a combo of Hernandez publicly calling out the replay system one time and then missing some high profile calls in playoff games.

In general, it seems like the pig pile on Angel was mostly unfair, most of us were guilty of it and he probably deserves some peace and quiet in retirement.
 

Jimbodandy

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Everyone agreeing about him is not really my definition of "polarizing." Seems more like a unifying force.
Great point. There was nothing polarizing about Angel Hernandez.

Guinness claims the Sheffield Wool Shear Workers Union as the smallest trade union, with 9 members. Page hasn't been updated since 2011, though.

https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/smallest-trade-union
Wonder which one of those nine members can't shear a sheep accurately.

And yet, we have an extremely well researched 25 minute video posted upthread that shows that's not the case and that our view of him is almost completely warped by 1) a handful of high profile disputed calls (many of which weren't even wrong) and 2) that box on your TV screen (which is also not correct a good chunk of the time), and 3) society's knee-jerk belief that racial discrimination suits are--at least some of the time--an excuse for poor performance (note: I am not accusing you of anything -- my own dislike of Hernandez was probably based on these three factors as well).

Long and the short of it: Hernandez is not even a bad umpire according to multiple official and unofficial tracking systems. MLB did stop giving him premium assignments but it sounds like it was a combo of Hernandez publicly calling out the replay system one time and then missing some high profile calls in playoff games.

In general, it seems like the pig pile on Angel was mostly unfair, most of us were guilty of it and he probably deserves some peace and quiet in retirement.
Love the retcon. If one wants to use data to claim that he wasn't even the worst umpire, that's fine. He was a bad one and a highly visible, bad one, long before his suit against the league. There are plenty of other bad ones who don't have a chip on their shoulder. I honestly didn't pay much attention to the details of his suit and have no opinion on its merits. Given what a household name the guy is, it's unnecessary gaslighting to imply that anyone formed their opinion of his badness based on his claims.
 

Harry Hooper

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Guinness claims the Sheffield Wool Shear Workers Union as the smallest trade union, with 9 members. Page hasn't been updated since 2011, though.

https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/smallest-trade-union
Thanks, the BBC has the Sheffield Wool Shear Workers Union disbanding in 2007, per this interesting article about the even smaller Teston Independent Society of Cricket Ball Makers (disbanded in 2006) and the strike of 1914 which threw the cricket world into tumult.

@Jimbodandy It turns out the union represented folks who manufactured the shears themselves.
 

jon abbey

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And yet, we have an extremely well researched 25 minute video posted upthread that shows that's not the case and that our view of him is almost completely warped by 1) a handful of high profile disputed calls (many of which weren't even wrong) and 2) that box on your TV screen (which is also not correct a good chunk of the time), and 3) society's knee-jerk belief that racial discrimination suits are--at least some of the time--an excuse for poor performance (note: I am not accusing you of anything -- my own dislike of Hernandez was probably based on these three factors as well).

Long and the short of it: Hernandez is not even a bad umpire according to multiple official and unofficial tracking systems. MLB did stop giving him premium assignments but it sounds like it was a combo of Hernandez publicly calling out the replay system one time and then missing some high profile calls in playoff games.

In general, it seems like the pig pile on Angel was mostly unfair, most of us were guilty of it and he probably deserves some peace and quiet in retirement.
In a 2018 NY/BOS ALDS game, he was umpiring at 1B and had three calls reversed in the first four innings! That is mindblowing.

Also he was the single worst ump in baseball last year:

https://www.si.com/fannation/mlb/fastball/news/umpire-angel-hernandez-finishes-regular-season-with-worst-rating-in-mlb
 

Max Power

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In a 2018 NY/BOS ALDS game, he was umpiring at 1B and had three calls reversed in the first four innings! That is mindblowing.

Also he was the single worst ump in baseball last year:

https://www.si.com/fannation/mlb/fastball/news/umpire-angel-hernandez-finishes-regular-season-with-worst-rating-in-mlb
Right, like MLB said in their evaluation, he's not the worst in total bad calls, but his bad calls seemed to come in bunches and were accompanied by a hostile attitude.
 

Van Everyman

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I reached out to him to congratulate him on his retirement but he missed the call.
This is good work.
Love the retcon. If one wants to use data to claim that he wasn't even the worst umpire, that's fine. He was a bad one and a highly visible, bad one, long before his suit against the league. There are plenty of other bad ones who don't have a chip on their shoulder. I honestly didn't pay much attention to the details of his suit and have no opinion on its merits. Given what a household name the guy is, it's unnecessary gaslighting to imply that anyone formed their opinion of his badness based on his claims.
There's no retconning required.

Listen, I'm not here to convince everyone Angel Hernandez was actually a great umpire and a swell guy. This is a baseball site and people's opinions are super baked in.

But I actually do think that's part of the problem. I, like pretty much every baseball fan, think umpiring is fucking atrocious and the umps are egomaniacal jerks who are scared of losing their jobs to computers. And yet, I also think these guys are generally put in really bad positions by the way the game and its technology have evolved.

I mean, there's a box on our TV screens now that tells us whether umpires are doing the job well or not. And the fact is, that box is wrong a lot of the time -- and it's not even the only box we have. The other broadcast for games uses a different box that calls balls and strikes differently.

I mean, that's the other part of the problem, right? We have a bunch of different systems that call balls and strikes and none of them are the same. So even if the most prestigious and accepted ones call Hernandez "above average," we also have someone named "Umpire Auditor" as SI/ @jon abbey linked to that says, "No, he's terrible." So then it becomes a battle of emotions.

And it's on that level where we really can dig into how much Hernandez sucks. Our favorite players (Pedro) hate him. Our manager hates him (Cora). Dudes who played for us (Schwarber/Kinsler) hate him. Angel's terrible-ness is so broadly accepted that even mild-mannered Rich Eisen hates him. And, we have every tool in the world--including this website!--to magnify every potentially missed call to an absurd degree. And we can pass around takes online like the guy singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame calling out Hernandez on the field and Hernandez glaring at him from home plate as proof that he's an arrogant shit -- never mind that some other ump actually tossed the guy, not Hernandez.

All of which is to say, I'm not certain Hernandez is a good umpire -- but there sure is an awful lot of evidence he's not even close to the worst either. What he definitely is, I believe, is the most prominent guy we think sucks in a profession of guys we think suck. As a result, it kind of feels like we are using him as the scapegoat for All That Is Wrong With Umpiring -- when the reality is, the system is failing these guys and putting them in an unwinnable position.

If people disagree, fine. But if they have the time, they should watch that video @GrandSlamPozo linked upthread. Or they can stick with their current opinions. It's ok either way.
 

jon abbey

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So even if the most prestigious and accepted ones call Hernandez "above average," we also have someone named "Umpire Auditor" as SI/ @jon abbey linked to that says, "No, he's terrible." So then it becomes a battle of emotions.
That Athletic piece literally uses Umpire Auditor also, to semi-defend him:

"When it comes to egregious calls, it feels as though Hernandez is the biggest culprit. But is he the game’s worst umpire? The answer to that, statistically, is no.

According to Dylan Yep, who founded and runs Umpire Auditor since 2014, he’s ranked as the 60th to 70th best umpire, out of 85-to-90, in any given season.

“It sort of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and there’s also a lot of confirmation bias,” Yep said. “When he does make a mistake, everyone is immediately tweeting about it. Everybody is tagging me. If I’m not tweeting something about it, there are a dozen other baseball accounts that will.

“Every single thing he does is scrutinized and then spread across the internet in a matter of 30 seconds.”"
 

jon abbey

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Two things about Hernandez from observation: he seemed to bunch his bad calls together more than most umps, and most umps seem to be judged solely on 'right or wrong' but Hernandez seemed to have had way way more than his share of wildly wrong calls. Anyone can miss a borderline pitch, that's not the issue here.
 

mikeot

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It goes like this, strike four, and fifth
The defenseless calls, and senseless gifts
The baffled king is going! Hallelujah
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand right here before the Lord of song
With nothing, nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
 

Al Zarilla

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Duane Kuiper, Giants announcer, paired with Mike Krukow, and two of the best and nicest guy announcers ever, went off on Angel one time over one of the most egregious of his billion bad calls. Couldn’t believe it. It’s like they almost had to drag Kuiper away from his microphone LOL. Never heard Kuiper before or since lose it over an umpire or anything. He obviously had seen a ton of bad Angel calls over time.
 

dynomite

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Duane Kuiper, Giants announcer, paired with Mike Krukow, and two of the best and nicest guy announcers ever, went off on Angel one time over one of the most egregious of his billion bad calls. Couldn’t believe it. It’s like they almost had to drag Kuiper away from his microphone LOL. Never heard Kuiper before or since lose it over an umpire or anything. He obviously had seen a ton of bad Angel calls over time.
Everyone's said it, but I think that's what sealed the deal for why Angel Hernandez transcended baseball and became a symbol for bad refs/umpires generally.

It was that he had so many memorable, just awful calls, and was so infuriatingly defensive about them. When players and managers react to Hernandez the way that they did -- even well-known "good guys" like Schwarber and Kuiper -- it says something.

Jim Joyce's blown call at 1st for Galarraga's perfect game was probably the most memorable blown call of my lifetime as an MLB fan, but Joyce's lifelong guilt and agony over the blown call and lack of notable other moments like it has protected him from a lot of the same scrutiny I imagine.

https://www.espn.com/espn/otl/news/story?id=5993137