James Pilcher of the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that umpire Angel Hernandez has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Major League Baseball. He also claims that there is racial discrimination in baseball’s promotion and post-season assignment policies. Hernandez claims that, despite being rated highly in evaluations, he has been passed over to work the World Series.
According to Pilcher, Hernandez hasn’t worked a World Series since 2005. He was also made a temporary crew chief in 2005 and 2012 but his four applications to become a permanent crew chief were denied.
As for racial discrimination, Pilcher notes that there are only 10 African American or Hispanic umpires of the nearly 100 umpires in Major League Baseball. The lawsuit says, “The selection of these less qualified, white individuals over Hernandez was motivated by racial, national origin and/or ethnic considerations.”
In the lawsuit, Hernandez says that MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre has held a grudge against him. Torre called out Hernandez publicly in 2001, disagreeing with some calls he made. Hernandez says his reviews were based on public perception rather than objective analysis.
Hernandez reportedly filed two discrimination charges in June with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
While Hernandez doesn’t exactly have the best reputation among umpires, there’s no reason to outright dismiss any of the claims he’s making here as an outsider. MLB has also had diversity issues with front offices and coaches, as they are by and large made up of white men. To think that those practices would also extend to umpires is not a great leap.