Whenever the Miami Marlins play at home there's one key part to every player's pre-game ritual. It's a visit to Hugo "Juice" Tandron, the team's in-house barber and the only known one in professional baseball.

The heavily tattooed 45-year-old has such a steady stream of clients – players and staff – that he is open six hours prior to home games, and does house calls during the off-season. Even visiting players clamour for a cut, and leave a signature on his wall to mark their time there. Yet Tandron didn't always enjoy such a coveted position.

"I was always that one kid that you can't dare to do nothing because I'd do it. Jump off the roof we dare you. I'd jump off the roof. I dare you to break into that house, I broke into that house. I dare you to try and steal that car, I tried. You know and it just kept, I'm not saying progressing, maybe regressing. I got worse," Tandron said.

In his early 20s Tandron began taking barber work seriously and for a time spent days as a building inspector and nights cutting hair for as little as $4 (£2.63). The big break came in the early 90s when a mutual friend introduced him to then Marlins slugger Gary Sheffield. From there, the business that started in his house in Miami's rough and tumble Carol City neighbourhood started mushrooming.

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford flew Tandron to California first class for a cut. His clippers have seen many of the game's greats including Hank Aaron and Reggie Jackson. At the same time Tandron has developed strong bonds with countless professional players. One gave him a loan to buy a house. Dontrelle Willis, among his favourite clients, once surprised him with a car.

Today, Tandron owns his own barbershop but still spends hours driving around South Florida tending to players' needs. During spring training he drives a couple of hours up the coast to cut for the Marlins and their neighbours in Jupiter, the St Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals.

His cuts have even become part of some players' superstitions. Many wouldn't think of stepping onto the field before getting a seat in Tandron's cinder block shop. Others balk at the idea at letting another barber's clippers get close to them.

"I don't really let anybody else touch my hair though. I'm really strict with that," said Marlins all-star pitcher Jose Fernandez.