The 55-year-old Hernandez, who was born in Cuba, has been an MLB umpire since 1993, and he worked the 2002 and 2005 World Series. However, his lawsuit claims that since Torre was named MLB’s chief baseball officer in 2011, World Series umpiring crews have been all-white except for just one minority member, Alfonso Marquez, who worked the 2011 and 2015 Series.
Of the 92 umpires on MLB’s official roster, 10 are Hispanic or African American, according to a review by the Cincinnati Enquirer. Regarding Hernandez’s exclusion from World Series assignments since 2011, the lawsuit states, “The selection of these less qualified, white individuals over Hernandez was motivated by racial, national origin and/or ethnic considerations.”
Hernandez also is alleging that he has been unfairly prevented from gaining permanent status as a crew chief, despite four applications to be promoted from temporary status. “All 23 umpires promoted to crew chief since 2000 have been white,” the lawsuit notes (via the Associated Press).
Crew chiefs act as supervisors for the three other umpires during games, and all umpires earn greater pay for World Series assignments. Hernandez’s suit claims that he had received mostly positive evaluations until the appointment of Torre, who “has a history of animosity towards Hernandez stemming from Torre’s time as manager of the New York Yankees.”
“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,” the lawsuit states. MLB spokesmen declined to comment on the matter.
Hernandez, who filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, filed two discrimination charges against MLB with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in June. He worked the 2016 National League Championship Series, as well as three Division Series in the past six years.