You’ve probably heard that MLB umpire Angel Hernandez is in the news again, because he’s awful at his job and does embarrassing things to the sport on a too regular basis. You may also know that Hernandez has something of a reputation for drawing attention to himself, and is annually rated as one of the worst umpires by Major League players.
What you might not know, and what I didn’t know until I saw Joe Posnanski retweet something from Buffalo News writer Mike Harrington, is that Hernandez’s reputation for brutal calls and a total lack of professionalism goes back over 20 years. Harrington linked to this article written in 1991 by Bob DiCesare, covering Hernandez’s performance in a Triple-A game between the Buffalo Bisons and Iowa Cubs. The piece is brutal in its honesty, and rings true even today.
Hernandez is reputed around the league to be an umpire who yearns for the spotlight. 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…
“I thought we got cheated on that play at home plate,” Kelleher said. “It showed on the replay that he was out. We had a legitimate beef, and he’s got to know about it.”
Read the whole piece. That a guy could develop that kind of reputation in the minor leagues, then go on to have a long career as a Major League umpire, is embarrassing to the sport.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.