ï»¿Such is professional baseball’s paranoia about all things PED, that even the humble barber must practice his skills far from an MLB clubhouse. And while such an edict will have little impact on former Met Rey Sanchez, hairdresser Angel Pena — described as “the most charismatic barber in the world” by the Snakes’ Edwin Jackson — finds himself and his all-roster client roster exposed in Friday’s USA Today via the handiwork of Bob Nightengale (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).
He waits in a bank parking lot for Red Sox slugger David Ortiz to pick him up. They drive to Fenway Park and set up shop outside the team’s clubhouse since MLB security has barred locker room access to outsiders. Soon Pena heads to Logan International Airport for a flight to Seattle, where Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley is waiting.
You won’t find Pena’s name in a program or media guide. He has no background in baseball and is not a trainer, team executive or agent, but he is trusted by virtually every star in the game. Pena, nicknamed “Monster99,” is the barber of baseball.
“Everybody around the league knows who he is, and everybody loves him,” says Ortiz, who has a barber chair in his garage courtesy of Pena. “Everybody is cool with him because he’s so cool. I’m telling you, he’s got a relationship with everyone.”
Pena, a 33-year-old product of New York City, has a contact list that would make agent Scott Boras envious.
In the last few months, he has cut the hair of a wide array of baseball luminaries. From players such as Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Torii Hunter, Matt Kemp, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, Manny Ramirez, CC Sabathia and Justin Upton to Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson to Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya.
Bradley was desperate for a haircut before the Mariners started a road trip in Chicago, where he spent an acrimonious 2009 playing for the Cubs. If you are going to get booed, you might as well look good.
“He’s a guy you trust because he is who he is,” says Bradley, who paid for Pena’s flight to Seattle. “He’s not looking for anything. He doesn’t bother anyone. He’s just himself.”