Joe West thinks outgoing umpire Ángel Hernández got 'a raw deal,' was 'good at' his job

Ángel Hernández is retiring to the overwhelming approval of MLB fans and players across the league.

The much-maligned umpire who became the face of bad officiating not just in baseball but across sports confirmed his pending retirement on Monday.

This news inspired a slew of reactions that largely consisted of celebration alongside looks back on the lowlights of Hernández's missed calls. The criticism isn't aimed at Hernández the person. But the consensus around Hernández the umpire can be succinctly summed up in two words: good riddance.

But there was one, notable, voice who took up in defense of Hernández the umpire — retired MLB umpire Joe West.

West joined Chicago radio 670's "Parkins & Spiegel Show" on Tuesday to discuss his former colleague. He believes that Hernández got "a raw deal" from his critics.

"I think y'all gave him a raw deal," West said. "I'll tell you this. He retired this week, and he put out a statement. And his statement was that he enjoyed what he did for all these years. And whether you want to believe him or not, he was good at it."

That last declaration drew a startled reaction from co-host Matt Spiegel, who appears to be of the consensus view that Hernández was, in fact, not good at his job.

Ángel Hernández is retiring from baseball. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Ángel Hernández is retiring from baseball. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

"You can say, well he missed this pitch or he missed that pitch," West continued. "You can do that with anybody. When you get on a rant like that, it's easy to follow a guy and say, 'oh he missed this pitch.'"

Hernández missed a lot of pitches. He repeatedly drew the impassioned ire of players on the wrong end of his calls. Kyle Schwarber spoke for a lot of baseball during one particularly memorable 2022 interaction:

That West would come to the defense of Hernández, though, comes as no surprise. West retired from baseball in 2021 after more than 40 years on the job. He did so as one of the few umpires in baseball who could rival Hernández in disdain from players.

He was on the receiving end of his own share of player and manager tirades and was voted the second-worst umpire in baseball via an ESPN poll of players in 2010. Hernández came up third in that poll that was topped by CB Bucknor.

So West can probably empathize with what Hernández might be going through if Hernández is paying attention to the noise this week.