Angel Hernandez has for years been an object of scorn for MLB players, and Monday night was no different for the umpire.
While manning first base in Game 3 of the ALDS between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, Hernandez saw four of his plays challenged. Three of them were overturned upon replay review, and one of those three wasn’t really all that close.
Fortunately, his officiating couldn’t have much of an effect on a 16-1 blowout in Boston’s favor. Unfortunately, he’ll make a lot of unchallengeable rulings in Game 4, because the 28-year veteran will be calling balls and strikes from behind home plate.
Here’s what you need to know about the infamous ump.
Angel Hernandez Was Born in Cuba
Hernandez’s parents fled Cuba in 1962, when he was just 14 months old, accord to the Palm Beach Post. He didn’t return until December 2015, on a church mission. During the trip, he spread the ashes of his father, who’d passed away in 2012.
Three months later, he again visited his homeland, to ump the first ever game in Cuba to feature a major league team; the Tampa Bay Rays played the Cuban national team.
“I fought back tears in the locker room,” Hernandez told the Palm Beach Post. “It was just surreal. I kept telling myself in a blink of an eye, I’m in Cuba and now I’m going to umpire a game. In my mind he was there.”
The 57-year-old resides in Loxahatchee, Florida.
He’s Suing Major League Baseball
Hernandez filed a lawsuit against his employer on July 3, 2017, alleging that he hadn’t been promoted to crew chief or worked a World Series since 2005 due to racial discrimination.
From the suit: “As a direct and proximate result of Major League Baseball’s wrongful acts and omissions, Hernandez has sustained injuries and damages including … mental anguish; physical and emotional distress; humiliation and embarrassment; and loss of professional reputation.”
He’s Hated by Players
Pedro Martinez, Chipper Jones, Paul Lo Duca, and Jeff Nelson rank among several former MLB stars who railed against Hernandez during and after the ump’s Game 3 performance.
“Angel was horrible,” said Martinez, a Hall of Fame righty and MLB Network analyst. “Don’t get me going on Angel now. Major League Baseball needs to do something about Angel. It doesn’t matter how many times he sues Major League Baseball. He’s as bad as there is.”
Player polls named him the third-worst umpire in the majors in 2006 (Sports Illustrated), 2010 (ESPN), and 2011 (Sports Illustrated).
He Has a History With Ian Kinsler of the Red Sox
In August 2017, Kinsler, then of the Detroit Tigers, called for Hernandez to find a new job after the ump ejected him in the middle of a plate appearance.
“I don’t know how, for as many years he’s been in the league, that he can be that bad,” Kinsler told The Detroit News. “He needs to reevaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line. … This has to do with changing the game. He’s changing the game. He needs to find another job. He really does. … He’s just that bad.”
Kinsler’s had a grudge against Hernandez since his rookie year, when, according to Kinsler, the ump confronted him after a routine play.
“He started screaming at me,” Kinsler told The Detroit News. “For, in my recollection, no reason. For no reason he is belittling me, telling me, ‘Rookie this,’ and ‘Rookie that.’ Because he said I got in his way of making a call at first base. When I flipped the ball to first base, I ran into his line of vision.”
He Hosts a Celebrity Golf Tournament Every Year
Every year, Hernandez hosts the Miracle League Golf Tournament to raise money for the Miracle League, according to USA Today. It’s a baseball league for young people with mental and/or physical disabilities.
“I remember being a child and sleeping with my uniform, my trophies, my gloves,” Hernandez told the Palm Beach Post in 2012. “What this does for a child that has these disabilities, we can’t even imagine. Being there and seeing it, there is no feeling that comes close to it.”