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Angel Hernandez was a “controversial” umpire in the minor leagues two decades ago

May 9, 2013, 12:42 PM EDT

Angel Hernandez, Bob Melvin AP

Even before blowing a replay call last night umpire Angel Hernandez had a long track record of, well, let’s call them “sketchy” performances, but did you know he had a negative reputation back in his minor league days too?

We’re talking two decades ago, but Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News uncovered this article from way back in 1991, which notes that “Hernandez is reputed around the league to be an umpire who yearns for the spotlight.”

Here’s more, from Triple-A:

He attracted notice in Saturday’s series opener by calling a phantom balk on 13-year big-league veteran Rick Sutcliffe. Hernandez attracted more attention Sunday with a call at home plate that replays proved blatantly incorrect.

In that Sunday game Hernandez ejected the manager, the catcher, and the pitcher involved in his botched call, but not before this happened:

Pappas surely got the most for the fine money he will be assessed by the league office. He made an obscene gesture in the face of Hernandez and repeatedly screamed at the umpire from the dugout. The climax came when Pappas flung his shin guards onto the field.

I’m not sure what the recording devices were like 22 years ago, but I’ll assume like last night Hernandez refused to let reporters record his explanation afterward.

  1. drobstad - May 9, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    This guy has repeatedly abused his power as an umpire and tries to make sure he gets his face on TV every single game. I have hated this guy for a long long time and just laughed when I heard about this on the radio this morning. It’s amazing that the MLB doesn’t hold these umpires accountable.

    • theskinsman - May 10, 2013 at 3:20 AM

      This is what you get with union protection.

    • stevequinn - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:55 AM

      You got a lot of “likes” on your post versus just 2 “dislikes.” Wonder if Hernandez’s Mother and Father are the dislikes :-)

  2. flamethrower101 - May 9, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    So what in the blank possesses MLB to continue employing this clown?

    • evanwins - May 9, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      MLB doesn’t employ him, they employ a union, who in turn employ Hernandez and a whole slew of other incompetents, and also protect him from things like being fired and being accountable.

      I am neither pro- nor anti- union but I can say that this is one of those instances where anyone can clearly see that there’s a problem with this particular union situation.

      • misterj167 - May 9, 2013 at 7:29 PM

        The union was broken years ago, back in the day there were umpires for the AL and NL separately, now the umps work for MLB in general. What union there is now is toothless. And it’s been since the union was broken that umps have gotten progressively worse and more aggressive with players.

  3. melkipershero - May 9, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Again. How is he an umpire?

  4. cur68 - May 9, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Once an ass-clown always an ass-clown.

    • historiophiliac - May 9, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      Pointer #2: Be funny. “You’re an ass clown” (caps or no) is not funny…unless it comes with a hat. An ass clown hat would be really funny…especially since cur likes to wander around in the celciuses without a mental shirt on, strutting like a rooster and going on about rubber hoses with the chicken…that wicked little Rotisserie-ready chicken…where was I? Oh, yeah, be funny.

      • tuberippin - May 9, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        “Ass clown” is a term to me that sounds like it belongs in a porn flick. That, or a clown who is hired for parties and who specializes in literally pulling things out of people’s asses, like one of those long, multi-colored handkerchief ropes.

  5. tycobbfromfangraphs - May 9, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Controversial is now a synonym for….Corrupt or Incompetent? Or both? I’m a firm believer that Angel simply refuses to be corrected, period. He’s interested in making calls and having those calls stick. He will not allow himself to be corrected by a video replay.

    Only the NFL would do something about him, they understand that their fans deserve better. MLB will move on and tell ua that they make profits and therefore everything is fine. It’s the foolish explanation rich people in baseball have come up with but it’s their go to response. Forget the idea of making MORE profits by providing a better product. Nothing needs to change because money is being made.

    The worst thing about baseball is the people in the business of baseball

    • paperlions - May 9, 2013 at 1:32 PM


      Controversial still means controversial….but “controversial” mean “completely fucking horrible”. As in, “Angel Hernandez was a completely fucking horrible umpire in the minor leagues two decades ago”

      • gostlcards5 - May 9, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        AGREE! This dude has been blowing calls and initiating arguments for decades. MLB needs to do something about him, but clearly won’t, because I would guess that someone in the league saw this article back then.

  6. xmatt0926x - May 9, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    “Angel is just a bad umpire. That’s all there is to it.” – Texas manager Ron Washington a year or so ago after one of many controversial Angel Hernandez games. On that night we were all Rangers fans……

  7. dolphindubs - May 9, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Ahhhh….got to love unions! Because of the umpire’s union this d-bag will continue to get to work games over and over. MLB cant do sh** about it

    • Old Gator - May 9, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      Try to stop worshipping your ideological golden calf for a minute and have a look at what the real problem is. The league has the authority to discipline umpires. It just doesn’t give enough of a shit to do it.

      • evanwins - May 9, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        I’m not sure that MLB can do anything to these guys for this type of situation. If the umps mess with a player or something like that they can do something but I’m pretty sure not for making a mistake, regardless of how severe.

        You see, the real problem here is that we don’t know. None of us. There’s this thick wall of secrecy about how the whole thing works. We don’t know about any repercussions on umps.

        How many people would feel better if they knew that Angel was being fined $5000? And made to address the situation publicly.

        How wrong is it that players and managers can’t criticize the umps in the media without being fined? And I’m fairly sure even the play-by-play and color commentary broadcasters (who are employed by the teams) are told not to criticize calls.

        How about this: No MLB team will show close calls at the game on the scoreboard. Think about that. It’s almost an admission by MLB that they know umpiring sucks and in order to maintain the illusion that it doesn’t they simply won’t let it be acknowledged by showing it to thousands of fans, fans who might just storm the field if they saw the incompetence right in front of them.

  8. hasbeen5 - May 9, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    I get the union stuff, but at what point do other members of the union realize that this guy and others like him make the rest of them look worse and worse. It’s the same, what, 6 or 7 umpires that we continuously bitch about? You’d think sooner or later the dozens of good umpires whose names we don’t know would self police.

    • Old Gator - May 9, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      I repeat: the league has the authority to police. It just doesn’t use it.

      • hasbeen5 - May 9, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        That’s not my point. If they have the authority to discipline, they sure aren’t using it. In light of that, if I were a member of the umpire’s union, I’d want this handful of guys gone because they give the group as a whole a bad name.

      • Cris E - May 9, 2013 at 3:48 PM

        I believe they probably do take action more often than is announced, but they do it privately to not undermine the authority of any particular ump more than any other ump. If you think Angel is going to catch it from fans tonight, how much worse would it be if those fans knew it was his fourth violation or he was on probation or whatever? I understand that complete transparency might pose problems for MLB, but it’s just as counter-productive to be completely silent. Just announcing that Mr Hernandez will be reviewed by the umpiring committee the next time he’s in NY would take most of the edge off.

      • theskinsman - May 10, 2013 at 3:23 AM

        Have a source to educate us, or are we to believe that the umps union is toothless because we heard it from the great and powerful Oz?

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 9, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      Angel Hernandez
      Joe West
      C.B. Bucknor

      Those are the 3, and only the three that routinely cause problems in major league baseball. Everyone makes mistakes, and no one expects any umpire to be perfect, but these three seem to revel in the attention and firmly hold onto the belief that even GOD himself has no right to tell them they are wrong.

      • nbjays - May 9, 2013 at 9:27 PM

        You missed Bob Davidson.

      • astiowa - May 9, 2013 at 9:56 PM

        And the worst of them all Hunter Wendelstedt

      • astiowa - May 9, 2013 at 9:58 PM

        Also why are so many of these guys crew chiefs? It’s bad enough MLB let’s them keep working as umpires, but why promote them to crew chief?

      • 4d3fect - May 10, 2013 at 12:15 AM

        Forgot about Eddings, didn’t you?

  9. scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 9, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Angel is typically good for a half dozen or so of these types of calls a year. At this point, when MLB refuses to do anything about it, all you can do is throw your hands in the air and help everyone you meet onto the bandwagon. Let us not forget this is also the man who once ejected a guest singer, because the singer made a umpire joke and it hurt poor Angel’s little feelwings.

  10. jeffa43 - May 9, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Baseball is bigger than one egotistical umpire.

    Nobody is bigger than the game.

    Do something Selig. Is there any question it was a home run?

    Nobody on earth agrees with the double.

    Do the right thing Selig!

    Reverse the call, suspend Devil. Hernandez umpires with a bias grudge!

  11. southpaw2k - May 9, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Maybe he’s trying to emulate George Costanza’s efforts in that episode of Seinfeld when he was trying extra hard to be fired by the Yankees in order to get a job with the Mets. He wants to go out in a blaze of glory and have his former co-workers talk about him, saying stuff like, “Wow, that guy got CANNED!”

    • hasbeen5 - May 9, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      Maybe the LFL is calling his name?

  12. crgabe - May 9, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    He was hired in the early 90’s in a time when MLB was seeking to diversify its umpire crews. He, along with others who were rushed up through the minors, is quite simply an “affirmative action” hire. See Art Williams in the 70’s.

  13. yankeesgameday - May 9, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    I am.calling out all MLB fans who are fed up with this. If you go to the ballpark VOICE your displeasure. Whereever Angel Hernandez umps get on Twitter and let everyone in the stadium know to chant his name. Taunt him. Yell at him. DO NOT CAUSE PHYSICAL HARM OR THROW ANYTHING. But humiliate abd yell at him everywhere he goes ON A BASEBALL FIELD, not in his private life.

    But do that on the field of play all game long and baseball will finally have to do something.

  14. missthedayswhenwedidnthavetologin - May 9, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    He threw Mongo McMichael out!

    • jwbiii - May 9, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      “The Cubs have two runners on.”
      “Which base?”

    • scoocha - May 10, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      I wish Mongo had destroyed him.

  15. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain - May 9, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    In this instance, “controversial” is a diplomatic way of saying “terrible”.

  16. tuberippin - May 9, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    This is an outstandingly bad attempt at trolling.

    But I love it.

  17. Walk - May 9, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    One of the biggest compliments I reserve for a player is to call them a “game changer”. I never thought it could be anything other than a compliment. Angel hernandez has proven me wrong.

  18. jlilly67 - May 9, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    No credibility again from commish. Can’t wait until he is gone.

  19. deadrabbit79 - May 9, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    He kind of reminds me of this guy at work who is infamous for calling in sick all the time, to date this year he has been out 15-20 days. But his boss does not do anything about it soooooo why stop. Same thing here with Hernandez, he gets away with it soooooooo why stop? He is a pompous @$$/-0le.

  20. greymares - May 9, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    nobody could look at that replay and not see Home run. therefore it has to be construed as a blatant way of cheating by Hernandez and the other 2 umpires that viewed the tape. the fact that Torre stated that they got the play wrong and refused to overturn this call no matter what the logistics or consequences to do so, means M.L.B. helped perpetrate the cheating and everyone involved needs to be suspended.

  21. stevem7 - May 9, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    Sad commentary that even with irrefutable proof that it was a HR, Angel “I shouldn’t be an Umpire” Hernandez still got it wrong. When is Joe Torre and MLB going to do something about sub standard umpires in the sport.

  22. yousuxxors - May 10, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    anyone know the over/under of this game?

  23. scoocha - May 10, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Please someone fire or pummel Hernandez to a pulp. Guy is definitely on the take. Once I saw the play I knew either Hernandez, Diaz, Bucknor were involved. Turns out Diaz and Hernandez work together – affirmative action at its best.

  24. tbih - May 10, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Affirmative action at its best again.

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