MLB umpire Angel Hernandez is suing the league and the commissioner's office, alleging that a long-simmering personal vendetta between him and Joe Torre, as well as racial discrimination, has hindered his career advancement.
In the suit filed Monday in Ohio, Hernandez claims that Torre, MLB's chief baseball officer, is holding a grudge against him that dates back to when Torre was manager of the New York Yankees.
In a May 2001 game, Hernandez made a call that prompted Torre to remark after the game that Hernandez "just wanted to be noticed over there."
According to multiple reports, Hernandez says in his complaint that since Torre joined the league'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 Cuban-born Hernandez, who is in his 24th year as a major league ump, further contends that MLB is not doing an adequate job of promoting minority umpires.
Hernandez's suit states that none of the 23 umpires who have been promoted to crew chief since 2000 has been a minority. The lawsuit also claims that only one minority umpire has been assigned to the umpiring crew for the six World Series that have been played since Torre began working for MLB.
"The selection of these less qualified, white individuals over Hernandez was motivated by racial, national origin and/or ethnic considerations," the lawsuit states.
Additionally, in June, Hernandez filed two discrimination charges with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Hernandez, who says he has seen "other, less experienced, generally white umpires" promoted ahead of him, is looking for back pay, as promotions and World Series assignments feature greater financial compensation.
Hernandez, 55, has worked two World Series (2002, 2005) and last season was part of a League Championship Series crew for the seventh time.