Hot Stove All Stars Credit: nunupics

You never know who might show up at Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago, an annual benefit concert that brings the city’s baseball and music communities together to support nonprofits helping urban youth and families. In past years, Eddie Vedder has crowd-surfed, Jimmy Chamberlin has hit the skins, and Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson have played a Cheap Trick number. That element of surprise is just part of the magic of the event, which was cofounded by Baseball Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons in Boston in 2000. Five years later, Gammons joined forces with Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who’d created a charity named Foundation to Be Named Later with his twin brother, Paul. HSCM became the main fund-raiser for the foundation, and after Epstein became president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, he helped launch a Chicago edition of the event in 2012. Since then, the Boston and Chicago benefits have raised a total of almost $10 million. WXRT DJ Lin Brehmer emcees this year’s HSCM Chicago, which benefits Cubs Charities and Foundation to Be Named Later and features supergroups drawn from the worlds of baseball and music. Participating artists are associated with a variety of genres and eras, though the 90s are represented pretty heavily: the Chicago Children’s Choir, Band of Their Own (with members of the Bangles, Belly, Letters to Cleo, the Flat Five, and Blake Babies), Peter Gammons & the Boston Hot Stove All-Stars (featuring onetime New York Yankee Bernie Williams and singer-songwriter Will Dailey, as well as members of the Upper Crust, Letters to Cleo, and the Gravel Pit), and the Chicago Hot Stove All-Stars (featuring Cubs sportscaster Len Kasper, Scott Lucas, and Jason Narducy). There’s also a special guest on deck, whose identity will only be revealed onstage—in previous years audiences have been surprised by Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins, and the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo and David Ross. So it’s possible you’ll hear “Go Cubs Go,” but it’s more likely that the night’s MVP will play a few original songs before joining their fellow performers for some classic rock and alternative covers. It’s anyone’s ball game.   v