Angel Hernandez is an umpire you’ve likely heard of, and when you’ve heard of an umpire, it’s likely not a great sign.

Hernandez has made some high-profile mistakes, and has a reputation for a bad and/or inconsistent strike zone. None of that really matters, though, when considering the merits of the lawsuit brought by Hernandez against Major League Baseball alleging racial discrimination and bias when it comes to crew chief and postseason assignments.

Via the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Cuban-born Angel Hernandez, 55, states in his suit that he has been passed over several times for a chance to work the World Series despite high marks on evaluations. The suit also charges that even though Hernandez was made a temporary crew chief, it has never been made permanent.

The suit accuses MLB of promoting only one minority umpire to permanent crew chief in the history of the game (a Hispanic) and that only one non-white umpire has worked a World Series since 2011.

There are just under 100 umpires currently on the MLB roster; an Enquirer review of the roster and the photos and biographies attached to it indicates about 10 are African-American or Hispanic.

“The selection of these less qualified, white individuals over Hernandez was motivated by racial, national origin and/or ethnic considerations,” the lawsuit says.

As the story notes, Hernandez filed two complaints in June with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission as well.

The suit also references Hernandez’s past run-ins with Joe Torre, now an MLB executive with some oversight over umpire assignments.

Hernandez’s suit is going to be an interesting case in how Major League Baseball handles suits and complaints outside the collective bargaining system; Hernandez and his fellow umpires have a union, after all. But again, his data is compelling, and this case will be interesting to follow as it inevitably winds its way through the court system.


About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.

2 thoughts on “Angel Hernandez files racial discrimination lawsuit against MLB

  1. It is pretty clear that he is not one of the best umpires in the game, so why would he be allowed to work the World Series. I don’t think this will end well for him. It would benefit the league to get more umpires in the rotation so we can all be spared watching games called by guys who are clearly past their prime.

    1. One non-white umpire in the World Series since 2011 does seem somewhat questionable, imo. The suit states that “despite high mark on evaluations” Hernandez has been passed over for permanent crew chief. If true, that seems a plausible argument. When MLB employees something in the neighborhood of only 10% minorities as umpire, a far smaller number than those participating in the actual game, that also seems to add some credibility to the suit. In 2015, it was reported that about 58% of the players were Caucasian. In comparison, when 40% of player are non-white, there is without doubt some disparity. It’s obvious, based on actual numbers, that this suit may have legs, and may only be the beginning of what could become a storm of negative press for MLB. If it’s true that his evaluations are, in fact, high, as the suit states, the questions do rise to another level. What’s said about Hernandez having an ambiguous/inconsistent strike zone, could likely be said of all umpires, at every level. Clearly past their prime? Based on what? Such a subjective statement has no place in this discussion. With African-American, black players no matter the nation of origin, leaving the game, there is a problem. There can be no argument there. To believe that this doesn’t carry over to the umpiring crew seems a tad disingenuous, at least on the surface. This will be interesting to follow.

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