Padres Joe Musgrove Throws Record-Setting Pitch in Antarctica
Baseball All-Star Raises Awareness for Athletes with Physical Challenges on the Most Remote Continent in the World
ANTARCTICA – December 5, 2022 – In an effort to raise awareness for Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), MLB All-Star pitcher Joe Musgrove sailed to Antarctica to set a world record for the fastest pitch ever thrown on the remote continent. The excursion was organized to bring several CAF athletes to move beyond their limits in the most extreme environment on Earth. The stage was set on a stunning continental landing site in the sub-Antarctic when Musgrove fired an 86 mph four-seamed fastball to teammate Sean Manaea.
“I was inspired by Joe’s commitment to his community,” said Neill Drake; a friend of Musgrove and Albatros Exedition's Polar Expedition Guide.
“It’s been an absolute honor to be able to bring such an amazing group together and show them a part of the world that they might have thought would never be accessible to them.” As the two began planning their adventure together, they decided to utilize Joe’s growing platform to raise awareness for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
Landis: Just Watch Me had been recently released around the same time which features Landis Sims, a 16-year-old varsity baseball player who was born without hands and feet. The documentary film follows Landis for eight years, and features Musgrove who has become a role model and mentor for Landis. Musgrove invited Landis to embark on his journey to set a world record pitch in Antarctica and support athletes with physical challenges.
“I’m constantly inspired by Landis Sims and the athletes from Challenged Athletes Foundation who overcome their challenges every day to achieve their goals,” said Joe Musgrove. “Antarctica is one of the most remote and extreme destinations in the world. I can’t think of a better place to showcase pushing the limits of what’s possible.”
Throwing a baseball in Antarctica is no easy task. Aside from being at the mercy of the extreme weather; an extensive permitting application process was necessary to ensure that the Padres starting pitcher would be authorized to throw with his boots on the ice. Antarctica is an extremely fragile environment and all activities that take place there need to be authorized by IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tourism Operators), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and other governing bodies to ensure the future conservation and preservation of the great white continent. The “Environmental Impact and Wildlife Risk Assessment” report took over five months to complete. Working together with the Albatros Expeditions office; Drake and Musgrove submitted all the required paperwork and the physical copy of the permit was hand carried from the Albatros office in Copenhagen to Antarctica just days before the throw.
Landis was included in the permit and given authorization to throw two pitches as well. Once Musgrove had set his record pitch at 86 mph, Landis had his turn on the snowy mound. His first pitch to Joe was recorded at 43mph. “You have got to get that to 44 for me Landis,” said Musgrove from behind the home plate drawn into the snow (referring to his jersey number). Landis wound up and fired another pitch, hitting 44mph. The bystanders, who traveled with Landis and Joe consisted of friends and family; began cheering as the two celebrated with a heartwarming hug. The pitch is pending recognition from Guinness Book of World Records and the team onsite collected evidence for approval.
Joining Musgrove and Landis were Paralympians Roderick Sewell, a double above knee amputee who became the first to finish the Ironman World Championship and Justin Phongsavanh, who was paralyzed after he was shot in an unprovoked assault. Justin recently won a bronze medal inthe Tokyo Paralympic Games for the javelin throw and currently holds a World Record. With specialized adaptive equipment, the CAF athletes were able to move across the extreme terrain and explore Antarctica. The group participated in daily zodiac landings, hiking in deep snow, kayaking through brash ice and the Polar Plunge, an icy jump into 30-degree waters.
“It’s a pleasure to have the CAF and Joe with us for this voyage and for Albatros Expeditions to be part of this wonderful cause,” said Greg Carter, CCO, Albatros Expeditions. “As a family-owned polar expedition company with 35 years of experience, we aim to provide unforgettable and life- changing memories for our guests. We sincerely hope that the athletes’ positive experience, alongside the record-setting pitch will raise awareness to the important cause that CAF represents.”