Elwood "Bingo" DeMoss
Elwood "Bingo" DeMoss Born: September 5, 1889 (Topeka, Kansas)
Deceased: January 25, 1965 (Alsip, Illinois).
When you consider the long and extensive history of America’s pastime, what is often overlooked is the
instrumental role that the Negro Leagues played in establishing baseball into the beloved sport. Before the
color barrier was broken, black baseball players found their home through the Negro Leagues.
One of these players was also able to call Kansas home.
Born in Topeka, Elwood “Bingo” DeMoss has much of his early life remaining lost in history, but it’s been
documented that he began his baseball career in 1905 with the Topeka Giants. Though he started as a
shortstop, DeMoss had to make the move to second base after an injury due to the shorter throw to first base.
Sometimes, life works in mysterious ways, and in this case of injury, DeMoss ended up one of the best
second basemen in the history of the Negro Leagues. DeMoss was known for his quick and flashy plays on the infield, cementing himself as a model for future second basemen across the sport. Outside of his stellar defense, he was also a star at the plate. DeMoss posted batting averages of above .300 in four different seasons across his career, and gained widespread accolades for his hit-and-run and bunting expertise.
DeMoss made several stops around the league, but his most memorable tenure was with the Chicago
American Giants from 1917-1925. DeMoss became the captain of the American Giants and led the team to
their first three Negro National league pennants from 1920-22, with both his defense and offense playing
crucial roles in the team’s success during this span.
DeMoss also garnered years of managerial experience during his Negro League career, including the years
he was still a player. Even though he retired as a player in 1930, DeMoss continued to manage until 1943,
producing a baseball career of almost forty years.
Negro League statistics are often considered to be “incomplete” compared to Major League Baseball’s when you consider the time of their prominence. Still, regardless of what may be unfortunately omitted
from the record books or just lost for good, there is a general consensus that DeMoss was one of the greatest second baseman in Negro League history, with former players from the era even voting him second overall, behind none other than Jackie Robinson. Though we might not have the exact statistics of his career, Bingo DeMoss will continue to live on through the retelling of the history of the Negro Leagues, and now that history continues to make its mark on the state of Kansas with his induction to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Biography by: Madelynn Hartley
Photos Courtesy of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum