Bernie Williams jams, Joey Votto jokes

Updated: January 23, 2011, 12:09 PM ET
By Buster Olney

Willie Weinbaum, an ESPN producer, attended Saturday's 88th Dinner of the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, and sent along some notes:

Former Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams, who will be on the next Hall of Fame ballot, started the evening with a solo guitar performance of the national anthem. At New York chapter dinners in recent years, a comedian offered a provocative standup routine that made some on the dais and in the audience squirm amid the laughs, but on this night, Williams and his band provided uplifting and uncontroversial entertainment in three installments that included renditions of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and John Fogerty's "Centerfield."

The night's biggest ovation was for another former New York center fielder, Willie Mays, who was in the audience as part of the world champion San Francisco Giants' contingent. Mays, introduced as baseball's greatest living player, spoke the day before at a public school in Harlem, near what was the Polo Grounds, the Giants' home field when he led them to the franchise's last title before this season.

Roy Halladay received the National League Cy Young Award from John Denny, the last Phillies starter to win it. He called Halladay "the epitome of why great pitching and real estate are synonymous -- 'location, location, location.'"