By PETE FONTAINE Back in 1976, Tom McDonough had a unique fund-raising idea for Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Cranston that has since developed into the oldest sports card show in the country. The 42nd anniversary of that now storied
Back in 1976, Tom McDonough had a unique fund-raising idea for Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Cranston that has since developed into the oldest sports card show in the country.
The 42nd anniversary of that now storied success, which is officially known as the Cranston Sports Card Show and is now being co-chaired by Michael “Mango” Mangasarian, will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 1-2, inside Coventry High School’s spacious C. Arthur Flori Gymnasium.
“Where does the time go?” Mango, as he likes to be known, queried. “Back when Tom started the show in 1976, I was a college student when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17, to win Super Bowl X and the show has been held ever since – with the exception of two years and keeps getting bigger and bigger each year.”
Thus, the Super Bowl Weekend Wonder, as people have often called the unique and extraordinary event, will set numerous records on Feb. 1-2, as Mango announced, “We’ll have a sellout (of dealers) from the 70 tables we had last year to 130 this time.”
Mango also announced “we have dealers coming from six states.”
More impressively, perhaps, is that as Mango emphasized, “We have elevated our status bar to new heights and have Heritage Auctions from Dallas being the exclusive to our show in that they are a $850,000 company with offices around the world selling a lot of memorabilia outside of sports attending this year’s show.”
When asked how much it will cost for people to take in this year’s show, Mango mused, “Same old tradition; admission is only four bucks each day and just $6 for a two-day pass. Admission for senior citizens 65 and older, veterans and children under 12 is half price and kids five and under are free.”
Likewise, sports buffs who want to get an early start or an exclusive shopping opportunity can purchase an “Early Bird Pass” and begin shopping at 8 a.m. before the doors open to the public at 9 a.m.
And, as it has been since McDonough founded the unique event, all proceeds from the 2020 Cranston Card Show will all go to three non-profits.
The first of which is Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, located off Oaklawn Avenue in Cranston and is, as Mango wanted it known, “Where Tom (McDonough) is a proud and long-time parishioner.”
“Our show will also benefit St. Vartanantz AYF Sports program as well as the Coventry High School Sports Hall of Fame,” Mango, a one-time teacher coach, added, “Everyone is excited about this year’s show; we’ll have sports cards, memorabilia, autographs, non-sports cards, programs, yearbooks, vintage equipment and books, magazines that are unopened and much more.”
The 2020 show will have many new and unique offerings such as, with a paid admission, people can have a photo taken in front of an original 8-by-2-foot piece of the Fenway Park Green Monster.
So, as it has been for four decades and counting, the Cranston Sports Card Show will become Mecca for dealers and fans who enjoy buying, selling and trading at the oldest event of its kind in the country. Show hours Feb. 1 are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday Feb. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.”
As Mango said with a slight chuckle in his voice, “We will wrap things up early Sunday. Even though the Patriots aren’t playing, everyone will have their sights set on the Super Bowl just as people have been doing for 42 of the past 44 years following the oldest operating sports card and memorabilia show in the country.”
People who’d like further information about the show and/or dealers should call Mangasaraian at (401) 601-5703.