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Longtime umpire Ángel Hernández, known for his controversial calls and quick ejections, has announced his immediate retirement from Major League Baseball. The 62-year-old Hernández cited a desire to spend more time with his family as the reason for his decision. Throughout his more than three-decade-long career, Hernández faced criticism from players, managers, and fans for his missed calls and decisions in high-profile situations.

In a statement released through MLB, Hernández expressed gratitude for being able to fulfill his childhood dream of umpiring in the major leagues since his debut in 1991. He spoke of the camaraderie he shared with his colleagues and the relationships he formed with individuals across various cities. Hernández acknowledged the positive changes in baseball since he first started, particularly in the areas of diversity and inclusion, and expressed pride in his contributions towards promoting minorities within the sport.

Hernández’s retirement comes after he lost a racial discrimination lawsuit against MLB in which he alleged that he had been unfairly treated based on his ethnicity. The federal appeals court upheld a previous district court’s decision to grant MLB a summary judgment, citing a lack of statistically significant disparities in the promotion rates of white and minority umpires. Despite his legal battle, Hernández continued to umpire until his retirement, including a final game on May 9 between the Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox.

Having been hired as a big league umpire in 1993, Hernández worked two World Series, three All-Star Games, and eight League Championship Series during his tenure. Despite facing setbacks, such as a back injury that sidelined him last season, Hernández remained dedicated to his profession until his retirement. Throughout his career, he made significant contributions to the sport and was recognized for his expertise and experience in officiating some of the most important games in baseball.

As he bids farewell to his umpiring career, Hernández leaves behind a legacy of passion for the game, dedication to his profession, and a commitment to promoting diversity within baseball. While his decisions on the field may have sparked controversy, Hernández’s contributions to the sport and his impact on minority representation in umpiring will be remembered. His retirement marks the end of an era in baseball officiating, and his presence on the field will be missed by players, managers, and fans alike.

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