Is MLB Umpire Ángel Hernández Really Retiring or Was He Forced Out?

It’s the “end of an error,” as one Twitter user put it, now that the umpire is hanging up his hat after years of controversial calls.


May 28 2024, Published 12:19 p.m. ET

Umpire Ángel Hernández watches an MLB game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 19, 2024, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles
Source: Getty Images

Although his departure is reported to be a retirement, fans suspect that controversial MLB umpire Ángel Hernández may have been fired.

Hernández announced his exit on May 27, 2024, saying he wanted more family time. “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,” he said in a statement, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “There is nothing better than working at a profession that you enjoy.”

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His statement continued, “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. 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.”

Was Ángel Hernández fired?

The official story is that Hernández has retired, but some fans — and at least one pundit — aren’t convinced. “It’s so obvious [MLB commissioner] Rob Manfred fired Ángel Hernández but they’re letting him spin it as a retirement to soften the blow,” Sports Illustrated columnist Jimmy Traina wrote on Twitter. “But it’s not gonna work.”

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Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout reacts after taking a strike from home plate umpire Ángel Hernández as Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross looks on during an MLB game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, Calif., on April 5, 2016
Source: Getty Images

Reddit user oldnick40 wrote, “Yeah, since his last game was May 9, and he’s been negotiating with MLB since then. He was fired, and they’ve been negotiating a severance so he doesn’t sue. Still, good news, everyone!”

And Reddit user jayrapsleafs wrote, “Forced resignation is firing with giving you a chance to save face. Same thing.”

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But one Redditor didn’t buy the speculation. “Let’s be real,” istrx13 said in a comment. “There is no way (barring something serious) that he got fired. The union and MLB probably negotiated some nice buyout that sent Ángel off into the sun.”

Why do fans think Ángel Hernández is a bad umpire?

Hernández started umping professionally at age 20, working in the Florida State League, and he got promoted to full-time MLB umpire status in 1993. Criticism of his calls has intensified recently, though. In April, he called a strikeout on the Texas Rangers’ Wyatt Langford after three consecutive pitches strayed from the strike zone — one of which went out by more than six inches — according to the Twitter account Umpire Auditor.

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An Umpire Auditor tally showed that Hernández made 161 bad calls in the 10 games he worked during the MLB’s 2023 regular season, ranking him as that season’s lowest-rated umpire who had worked at least 10 MLB games.

Hernández angered MLB players recently, too, with the Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber throwing a tantrum (and his bat) and yelling at him during a 2022 game and the same team’s Bryce Harper getting ejected for confronting Hernández during a game the following year.

Then there was the time former Chicago Bears player Steve McMichael called out Hernández before singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at a 2001 Chicago Cubs game. “Don’t worry — I’ll have some speech with that home plate umpire after the game,” the ex-football star told the Cubs crowd, as Hernández glared at him from the field.

Suffice it to say, fans and players might not be shedding many tears now that Hernández is leaving the MLB. “End of an error,” one Twitter user wrote.

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