Padre All-Star Joe Musgrove’s vision for his 30th birthday isn’t just about his personal milestone – he’ll also try to set a world record to benefit one of his favorite charities.
The El Cajon native departs Monday on a cruise to Antarctica where he will attempt to throw the fastest pitch on the continent while raising awareness for the San Diego-based Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).
Three athletes with physical disabilities will accompany him on the 10-day cruise from Argentina to one of the world’s most extreme environments. The group will make it to Antarctica by Dec. 1, and will be there until Musgrove’s birthday, Dec. 4.
Musgrove has developed a unique bond with Indiana teen Landis Sims, 16, a varsity baseball player born without hands or feet. Their story is highlighted in the recently released documentary “Landis: Just Watch Me.” The pitcher invited Landis to join him on the Antarctic expedition.
The Padre raised funds to bring along two Paralympic athletes. Roderick Sewell, a double above-knee amputee who finished the Ironman World Championship and Justin Phongsavanh who was paralyzed after being shot. Phongsavanh recently won a bronze medal in the Tokyo Paralympic Games for the javelin throw.
The athletes will bring specialized adaptive sports equipment to support their activities across the extreme terrain. Follow their progress on the trip at joinjoemusgrove.com.
“I’m so inspired by the CAF athletes that will be joining us on this journey and all athletes that face their challenges without limitations,” Musgrove said. “We look forward to raising awareness of their stories and CAF while appreciating all the natural beauty we are going to encounter.”
Polar guide Neill Drake, a friend of Musgrove’s, organized the trip, aboard the 340-foot Ocean Victory. The group will kayak and hike in rough terrain to support Musgrove as he prepares for his world-record pitch.
Special steps were necessary though, including a five-month permit application process, due to potential environmental impacts and risks to wildlife on Antarctica. The Ocean Victory is a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators and all activities or events must be approved by the association, along with other governing bodies that exist to protect the continent.
The trip, though, is ultimately about more than the record.
“Joe will set the record and support some incredible athletes in their quest for reaching new epic adventures, regardless of their limitations,” he said.