Jim Palmer, adopted at birth and pictured in 1979, had a Hall of Fame baseball career, never spending much time thinking about his birthparents. After 72 years, though, his wife put the pieces together. (Associated Press)
By Dave Sheinin (5/10/2018)
It would have been January 1945. It would have been somewhere in Manhattan, out where the Irish people gathered. It must have been cold out, driving Joe Geheran and Mary Ann Moroney indoors, into the same building and eventually the same room, maybe the same corner of a bar or nook of a kitchen, where they must have been overtaken by the same feeling and where one thing, as one thing is known to do, must have led to another.
They must have found somewhere to be alone.
They may have known each other already but probably didn’t — he, a dapper, 41-year-old, well-known man about town; she, a 37-year-old domestic to a wealthy family; both of them Irish immigrants. He was married, without children. She would marry just over a year later and quickly start a family with her new husband.
But on this night in January 1945, as fate would have it, Mary Ann Moroney got pregnant. Joe Geheran was the father.
This secret, dark and potentially explosive, may have belonged to both of them or just to Mary Ann because it isn’t clear whether Joe ever knew he would be a father. But regardless of whom it belonged to, the secret survived the subsequent birth of a baby boy Oct. 15, 1945, in a hospital on the east side of Manhattan, and it survived the baby’s adoption two days later. It made it to the grave with both Mary Ann and Joe, and it survived, as well, the life span of the daughter Mary Ann would have in 1946 and go on to raise.
And the secret would survive the first 72 years of that baby boy’s life, even as the world came to know and revere the man he grew into.
Continue reading at New York Times.