Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez (L) returns the good luck tap to the chest of first base umpire Adrian Johnson before the Philadelphia Phillies - St. Louis Cardinals baseball game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Angel Hernandez, a big-league umpire since 1993, sued Major League Baseball on Monday, alleging race discrimination.
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, Hernandez, 55, alleges MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre has purposely kept him from working World Series games in the last decade and from being promoted to a crew chief.
The suit alleges violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio state law.
Hernandez, born in Cuba and now a Florida resident, claims Torre "has a history of animosity towards Hernandez stemming from Torre's time as manager of the New York Yankees."
MLB spokesman Michael Teevan declined comment.
Hernandez's evidence with his claim includes criticism by Torre in 2001 that Hernandez "seems to see something nobody else does" and "I think he just wanted to be noticed over there."
Hernandez alleges he has received positive evaluations for most of his big league career, but states "following Torre's arrival in Major League Baseball's front office in 2011, the notion that Hernandez 'just wanted to be noticed' permeated Hernandez's yearly evaluations, as did Torre's general negative attitude towards Hernandez."
Hernandez worked the World Series in 2002 and 2005 but not has not returned. Hernandez worked last year's NL Championship Series along with Division Series in 2011, 2012 and 2015.
According to the suit, "The other 34 umpires assigned to the World Series during Torre's time in the office of the commissioner have been white."
"The selection of these less qualified, white individuals over Hernandez was motivated by racial, national origin and/or ethnic considerations," the suit states.
The suit also maintains Hernandez has served as a temporary crew chief and applied four times to be a permanent crew chief.
"All 23 umpires promoted to crew chief since 2000 have been white," per the lawsuit.
Hernandez and the World Umpires Association requested an explanation why MLB has not promoted him to crew chief this season. Torre reportedly sent a letter on March 27 stating Hernandez needed to "gain greater mastery of the official playing rules and replay regulations, continue to improve situation management, and display an ability to refocus and move forward after missing calls or receiving constructive feedback from the office."
Hernandez filed a pair of charges of discrimination against Major League Baseball on June 5. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued notices of right to sue last week, according to the suit. Hernandez is asking for money damages and an injunction against any discriminatory conduct by MLB.
He worked third base for the Chicago Cubs' game at Cincinnati on Sunday. He did not work Monday.