Obama Turns in Solid Performance on the Mound

President Obama may not have a future in the big leagues after he leaves the White House, but he held his own on the mound tonight, throwing out his first ceremonial first pitch as president before Major League Baseball's All-Star Game.

As Obama, wearing a Chicago White Sox jacket in honor of his favorite team, walked to the mound, there were scattered boos but mostly cheers.

With no hesitation or pause, Obama threw a solid pitch, if a bit of a floater, from the rubber, reaching the glove of St. Louis Cardinal Albert Pujols.

Check out ESPN's Photo Gallery of Presidential First Pitches.

VIDEO: Barack Obama pitching

Obama smiled during his windup and release and pumped his fist after Pujols caught the ball. The Cardinals first baseman may have provided a presidential edge, inching up a bit on home plate.

Obama shook hands with St. Louis baseball legends Bob Gibson, Bruce Sutter, Lou Brock, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith and Stan Musial, who were on the field for the first pitch.

Sitting in the Fox broadcast booth during the second inning, Obama explained why he wore the White Sox jacket.

"Everybody knows I'm a White Sox fan. My wife thinks I look cute in this jacket, so, between those two things, why not?" he told Fox's Tim McCarver and Joe Buck

Obama said he is not a Chicago Cubs hater, like so many White Sox fans are.

"I just don't root for them, that's all," he said.

Obama made not claims to having great baseball skills.

"I'm a great baseball fan. I didn't play organized baseball when I was a kid, so I think some of these natural moves aren't so natural to me," he said.

The president deferred from picking a 2009 World Series winner but said there is a lot of parity in the sport, which he considered a good thing.

"Everybody around the country has a little bit of hope for their team. ... Maybe the exception would be the Nationals who are still young and just had a new ballpark," Obama said, referring to his new hometown team in Washington.

Before the game, Obama visited both the American and National league clubhouses.

"Hey, Derek Jeter, what's going on man, how ya doing?" Obama asked the Yankee shortstop as he shook his hand. "Congratulations, I've been a big fan for a long time.

"This guy's like the old guy around here," Obama joked about Jeter, who was playing in his 10th All Star game.

Obama ribbed Phillies slugger Ryan Howard and Pujols about Milwaukee Brewer Prince Fielder beating them in the Home Run Derby Monday night.

"Hey Albert, what happened, this guy ... in your home park? What's going on man?" Obama said to Pujols, who came in fourth in slugging contest.

Obama said during the game that in the clubhouse, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino, a Hawaii native, gave him some Macademia nuts.

The president got some solid advice from Hall of Famer Willie Mays on the flight from Michigan to St. Louis tonight. The 78-year old center fielder, who played for the New York and San Francisco Giants, said he told Obama to "follow through" on his pitch.

Mays recalled meeting Obama on election night in Chicago last fall and staying up until the early morning. He said on Air Force One that he reminded Obama "that I cried for most of the night."

The event will also feature the four living ex-presidents: Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. They will appear in a Major League Baseball video recognizing several dozen Americans for their community service.

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