New York – José Lopéz shared a common dream with almost every young boy back home in the Dominican Republic: To one day be a baseball player in the majors.
Although Lopéz never realized his dream, he's now closer to baseball than he could have ever imagined: As a barber in New York City, he provides grooming services to some of baseball's biggest stars.
Seeing him open another barbershop are signs of progress. We need more people from our countries to come and establish themselves in the United States.
- David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox DH
The first ballplayer he recalls sitting on a chair was Luis Castillo, then with the Florida Marlins.
He's been a grand slam in and out of the clubhouses ever since.
"A tremendous person. A hard worker. He gets after it," Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz told Fox News Latino.
"Seeing him open another barbershop are signs of progress. We need more people from our countries to come and establish themselves in the United States."
Lopez became so popular with the players, they nicknamed him Jordan. Yes, as in that Michael Jordan who won six rings with the Chicago Bulls.
To Big Papi, there's just no haircut in the world like one from Jordan.
"When Jordan (gives me a haircut), someone will come and tell me 'Jordan cut you'," the Dominican star explained. "The guy is a genius. You got to separate him from the rest."
Lopéz arrived from the Dominican Republic in 1995. After working for his father who owned a construction company, he decided to call it quits.
"The work was very tiring. It was a hard job and I really didn't want to do that anymore," the 33-year-old barber told Fox News Latino at his new shop in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.
Hair grooming runs through his veins. Who better else to learn from but his mother? Paula Santana owned a hair salon and was a hairdresser.
"I told my mother I wanted to learn how to cut hair. I wanted to be a barber. She assisted me in funding my schooling," Jordan recalled.
The charismatic barber worked three years until he could afford to get his own shop which he opened up right next to his mother's business and named it Jordan MVP Barbershop, where autographed bats from players he's cut in the past are evidence of his influence.
Getting a cut from Jordan is a must-stop for most players that come into New York for a series against the New York Mets or New York Yankees. Former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes was the first ballplayer to sit in the new barbershop's chair and get trimmed a night before a recent series between the Miami Marlins and his former club.
Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernández wished Jordan was out in the Pacific Northwest. During spring training in Arizona this year, Hernández was lucky enough to get a few cuts while Jordan made his rounds through the different spring training facilities. But he’ll settle for cuts in the Big Apple or whenever he can get his favorite barber to travel to Seattle or to a city where he's playing in.
When he goes on the road, Jordan would groom the players at a different hotel than where the players stayed. He does it as polite gesture by "not stepping on their turf."
Even before traveling with ballplayers, the barber credits Robinson Cano and Carlos Beltran for eventually getting him into the clubhouses at the old Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium so he could groom the players.
So what sets Jordan apart from the rest?
"His personality. He's unbelievable. He is an amazing guy. He is a fun guy to be around," Hernández said.
Said Mariner's pitcher Oliver Perez, who played for five years in New York with the Mets:
"When I used to play here with the Mets, almost every homestand we at least got one haircut or when we had two series, we'd get more haircuts," Perez said, adding that the players like to "almost look perfect on the field."
"He's kind of the Michael Jordan of barbers because he's very special," he said.
Perez said he enjoys what he's doing so much that he's planning for an expansion.
"I thank God for being able to do this," he said. "Hopefully I can have a barbershop in every borough in New York and also in other cities."
Adry Torres, who has covered MLB, NFL, NBA and NCAA basketball games and related events, is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @adrytorresnyc