MLB umpire Angel Hernandez has long drawn the ire of fans for his on-field calls, but he made the right one for a young fan on Thursday during a game between the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees.
Up two in the bottom of the eighth, Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton smacked a line-drive home run into right field to extend his team’s lead to three when it mattered most. Yankee Stadium erupted after the play, but the mood flipped once fans realized Stanton’s 106-mph rocket struck a young fan.
Stanton’s home-run ball hit the young fan in the forehead as he tried to catch it, but he got right back up and laughed the frightening moment off seconds later. Hernandez, who was serving as the second-base umpire, saw the situation unfold and decided to help by tossing the young fan a souvenir ball after the inning.
This was a rare piece of positive news for the 59-year-old Hernandez, who made headlines earlier this year when a U.S. district judge threw out the lawsuit he filed against the MLB in 2017. In the suit, Hernandez — a native of Cuba — alleged MLB chief officer Joe Torre failed to promote him to crew chief or give him World Series assignments because of his race.
The Yankees eventually beat the Twins 7-5, extending their win streak to seven. They’re now only five games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL East lead.