A look back at some memorable calls Ángel Hernández made in Royals games

The names of umpires C.B. Bucknor and Ángel Hernández were trending on social media Sunday night, and just one of them is still working.

Hernández retired Monday, bringing an end to one of the most controversial umpiring careers in Major League Baseball history.

Hernández was hardly alone when it came to making mistakes, and that’s why current umpire Bucknor’s name was also being shared on X (formerly Twitter).

It’s just that when Hernández erred, it sometimes was a doozy. Here is a look at a few of those calls involving the Royals.

Blinded by the light

In a game against Cleveland on May 4, 2021, the Royals had runners on second and third when Salvador Perez hit a ball into the right-center gap at Kauffman Stadium.

Cleveland outfielder Harold Ramirez missed the ball, but Josh Naylor grabbed it on the bounce and fired it back to the infield. Two runs should have scored easily, but Hernández initially made no call, then said it was an out.

Confusion reigned and Hernández later admitted he had guessed as to what happened in the outfield.

“We talk about this. Replay is an extension of what we do out there,” Hernández told a pool reporter after the game. “As you saw, I got basically blinded by the outfield scoreboard. The pixels on the lights were as clear as white can be. I was trying to make out what happened out there.

“The harder I looked, the less I could see. So I was trying to read the players to see what they did with the ball. And I had to come out with the call. I basically guessed on the wrong call. So as soon as I turned around, (home plate umpire) Edwin (Moscoso) started walking towards me. We got the crew together. And we fixed the problem.”

The Royals had a beef because Andrew Benintendi, who was on second, would have scored. Cleveland had a gripe because it got an out that was wiped away. So no one was happy.

Then-Cleveland manager Terry Francona’s reaction: “I just kind of told Angel ‘Why’s it always happening when you’re here?’ It’s aggravating, but I don’t think there was anything we could do.”

Three Royals ejected

The very next day, Hernández mistakenly said Cleveland’s José Ramírez had been hit by a Brady Singer pitch. The ball hit Ramírez’s bat but he was still awarded first base, igniting a Cleveland rally. Singer was later called for a balk (and that was a correct call).

That led to pitching coach Cal Eldred, manager Mike Matheny and Singer being ejected.

That’s a bad two-day stretch for any umpire.


Not every call in Hernández’s career went against the Royals, of course.

Hernández was often criticized by fans for his work behind the plate. Calling balls and strikes is not an easy job and mistakes are bound to happen. But he was one of the worst.

I like this one because of the reaction from Bally Sports Kansas City broadcasters Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler. This strike call from a 2019 game drew a chuckle from Lefebvre.