Roy Halladay has fans in high places.
The Toronto Blue Jays' top pitcher was endorsed by the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush, during an interview with politico.com's Mike Allen on Friday.
Bush offered his support to Halladay after Allen lobbed him a softball question during an otherwise hardball interview that touched on Iraq, American dependence on foreign oil, and cyclone-stricken Myanmar.
"Mr. President, you're a Major League Baseball team owner again. Everyone is a free agent. You have a Yankees-like wallet. Who is your first position player? Who's your pitcher?" asked Allen.
Without hesitation, the former part-owner of the Texas Rangers chose Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and Jays ace Halladay.
"Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays is a great pitcher," Bush said. "He's a steady guy, he burns up innings."
As for Utley, Bush opined, “He’s a middle infielder, which is always — you know, they say strength up the middle. There’s nothing better than having a good person up the middle that can hit.”
The Toronto Star reported Saturday morning that Halladay was "blasé" about the endorsement.
"That's cool," he told the Star. "Any time the leader of a country acknowledges you, it's cool," adding that he felt honoured.
"Good for George!" Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said when he heard the news. "Now if that doesn't change Canadians' perspective on (Bush), what will?"
Halladay has been a powerful presence in Major League Baseball since his 1998 debut. The four-time all-star came within one out of a no-hitter in his second start in the Majors, won the Cy Young Award in 2003 and is known as one of the hardest-working pitchers in the league. He has a career record of 115-60.
The president's two top picks will square off as the Blue Jays visit the Phillies Saturday, though A.J. Burnett is slated to start for Toronto.