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Ángel Hernández retires: Controversial MLB umpire calls it quits after more than 30 years

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Ángel Hernández, perhaps the most notorious umpire in MLB history, has retired, he confirmed late Monday night. Hernández last worked on May 9 and will not return to the field.

"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," he said in a statement.

"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."

Hernández, 62, has drawn the ire of players, coaches and fans alike for decades since he was hired full-time in 1993, faced with near-constant criticism of his calls. In 2017, he filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against MLB, alleging that he was rejected for a promotion to crew chief and not chosen to work the World Series because he was Cuban. He umpired in both the 2002 and 2005 World Series.

A judge ruled in MLB's favor in 2021, writing that "Hernández's handful of cherry-picked examples does not reliably establish any systematic effort on MLB's part to artificially deflate Hernández's evaluations, much less an effort to do so in order to cover up discrimination." In its rebuttal, the league provided a list of Hernández's failures, including three overturned calls in Game 3 of the 2018 AL Division Series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

His appeal was rejected by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan last year.

"MLB and Hernández had spent the past two weeks negotiating a financial settlement before reaching a resolution over the weekend," according to USA Today.

Hernández continued to provoke criticism, as recently as this season when Rangers broadcasters took him to task over tight calls against rookie Wyatt Langford.

Hernández was at least outwardly unpopular with a number of high-profile players, including former major-league pitcher CC Sabathia. "I don't understand why he's doing these games," Sabathia, then a Yankee, said in 2018 after the overturned calls. "He's always bad. He's a bad umpire." Sabathia followed up Monday night:

Other players like Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber have had noteworthy dust-ups with Hernández in recent years.

"Ángel is a very good umpire, and in spite of what the media says, baseball has recognized it as well," his attorney, Kevin Murphy, told the Wall Street Journal last month as part of a profile in which Hernández did not participate.

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