The 6’4″ 205-lb Long turned down a contract from the NFL Green Bay Packers to play pro baseball. He stuck with the Pirates in 1955 after 11 minor league seasons (2 as a home run champ) and led the NL in triples. In May 1956, he hit eight homers in eight consecutive games, a record equaled by Don Mattingly in 1987. Traded to the Cubs in 1957, he found cozy Wrigley Field to his liking, hitting 55 HR over the next three seasons. In 1958 he caught two games using his first baseman’s mitt, becoming the first lefthanded catcher since 1906. In 1959 he tied a then-NL record by hitting back-to-back pinch homers. He also helped the Yankees down the stretch in 1963 with timely pinch hits. After his playing career, he worked as a minor league umpire.