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Much-maligned umpire Ángel Hernández to retire from Major League Baseball

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Ángel Hernández, the polarizing veteran umpire who has drawn the wrath and exasperation from players, managers and fans alike over three decades, is retiring from Major League Baseball, a high-ranking baseball official told USA TODAY Sports.

MLB and Hernández had spent the past two weeks negotiating a financial settlement before reaching a resolution over the weekend.

The longtime umpire confirmed his retirement in a statement to USA TODAY Sports on Monday night:

"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. I treasured the camaraderie of my colleagues and the friendships I have made along the way.

"I have decided that I want to spend more time with my family."

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Hernández, 62, worked his last game May 9 as the home-plate umpire in the Chicago White Sox's 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Guardians at Guaranteed Rate Field and never came back, replaced on the crew by Jacob Metz.

Hernández, baseball's most controversial umpire, filed a racial discrimination lawsuit in 2017 against MLB, alleging that he was passed over for a crew chief position and World Series assignments because of race. He last umpired a World Series game in 2005 and a League Championship Series in 2016.

The lawsuit was dismissed in U.S. District Court in 2021, granting MLB a summary judgement. The 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the decision last year.

"Hernández has failed to establish a statistically significant disparity between the promotion rates of white and minority umpires," the appeals court said in its 11-page decision. "MLB has provided persuasive expert evidence demonstrating that, during the years at issue, the difference in crew chief promotion rates between white and minority umpires was not statistically significant. Hernández offers no explanation as to why MLB's statistical evidence is unreliable."

Hernández, a Cuban-American, began umpiring professionally at the age of 20 in the Florida State League.

"There have been many positive changes in the game of baseball since I first entered the profession," Hernández said in his statement Monday. "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."

He was promoted to a full-time MLB umpire in 1993, and in recent years was considered by player and managers as the game's worst umpire.

He was lambasted on social media earlier on April 12 this season when Texas Rangers rookie Wyatt Langford struck out on three consecutive pitches that were outside of the strike zone. He missed on seven other pitchers that were at least three inches outside the strike zone.

Hernandez worked only 10 games last season because of a back injury, but he missed 161 calls, according to Umpire Auditor.

He had three calls overturned at first base in Game 3 of the 2018 American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, with Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez lambasting him on TBS.

"Ángel was horrible," he said. "Don't get me going on Ángel now. Major League Baseball needs to do something about Ángel. It doesn't matter how many times he sues Major League Baseball, he's as bad as there is."

Said Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia after the game: "I don't understand why he's doing these games. He's always bad. He's a bad umpire."

Hernandez was never considered MLB's worst umpire, according to MLB's statistical studies and reports, but in the court of public opinion, there wasn't anyone who missed more calls as a home-plate umpire.

Now, he's gone from the game, escaping the ridicule and mockery that long has followed him. 

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