NEW YORK — Angel Hernandez lawyers claim Major League Baseball manipulated the umpires evaluations. This is in an effort to reinstate the racial discrimination lawsuit he lost last summer.
Hernandez's lawyers filed the claim Tuesday in a U.S. filing. Circuit Court of Appeals to challenge the summary judgment U.S. district judge J. Paul Oetken gave to MLB in March 2021.
Hernandez, who was born in Cuba, was appointed as a big-league umpire on 23 June 1993. In 2017, he sued, claiming he was discriminated against for not being assigned to the World Series in 2005. He also claimed he had been overlooked as crew chief.
Hernandez served as the interim crew chief for the 2011-2016 season, at the beginning of the 2020 season that was delayed by the pandemic and part of 2021 season. He has not been promoted to permanent crew chief.
Hernandez's attorneys argued in the brief before the appellate court that Hernandez's 2011-16 season year-end evaluations were manipulated by MLB in order for Hernandez's job performance to appear worse than it really was. The year-end assessments for Mr. Hernandez's 2011-2016 seasons don't even accurately reflect his actual performance.
MLB called the claim “devoid” in a August 2020 brief that it filed to respond to a similar allegation.
Hernandez's lawyers stated that Hernandez had not followed the existing precedent in discrimination cases. The pool of minorities eligible for promotion is too small for statistical significance to draw a conclusion about disparate effects.
Alfonso Marquez was the first Hispanic crew leader born outside the United States. Kerwin Danley became the Black first crew chief in 2020. Richie Garcia was born in Florida and was the first Hispanic chief of crew from 1985 to 1989.
Oetken said that Hernandez attempted to rely upon the “inexorable zero” or the idea of courts ignoring statistical analyses in cases where few minorities have been employed. The inexorable zero might be persuasive in the case where a larger employer has not hired or promoted any minority candidates. However, it is less persuasive in this context because both the available umpires as well as the number of promotions are very small.
Oetken rejected Hernandez's January motion to alter, modify or vacate the decision. This left the circuit court to appeal.
Hernandez has been involved in some on-field controversy. During Game 3 of 2018 American League Division Series, Hernandez had three calls at first base ruled out by video review.The .