Virtually every Chicago benefit event raises funds via silent and live auctions, but the Juvenile Protective Association’s “Step Up to the Plate” gala will offer one lucky baseball fan the opportunity to own a truly unique piece of Major League Baseball history.

At the JPA’s annual Signature Spring Benefit, beginning at 6:30 p.m. May 15 at the Four Seasons Hotel, guests will be able to bid in a live auction on what is being called the “500 Home Run Club” collection: A rare complete set of 26 baseballs autographed by all 26 Major League legends who hit at least 500 home runs during their careers. That group includes such icons as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx and Chicago’s own, beloved Ernie Banks.

Along with Banks, Chicago teams are represented by Frank Thomas, Jim Thome and Sammy Sosa.

The host for the evening will be Fox 32 News anchor Corey McPherrin.

Speaking of the late, great “Mr. Cub,” Ernie will be honored at the gala for his commitment to helping Chicago’s children experiencing trauma and neglect. Gary and Cheryl Rabine will also be honored that evening with the organization’s 2015 Jane Addams Community Partner Award, named in memory of the famed social worker who founded the Juvenile Protective Association in 1901. Since that time, the JPA has worked to better the lives of children and families in our area. Last year alone, the JPA served almost 3,000 vulnerable children, parents and caregivers in underserved neighborhoods and schools.

For ticket and other information about the May 15 gala, go to juvenile.org/events/benefit-2015.