By Christopher Smith
---- — After Methuen High Athletic Hall of Famer and longtime golfer Bucky Boehm, 90, had a cataract repaired a few years ago, he called his doctor to tell him that he might have put the first synthetic lens in cockeyed.
“What do you mean?” the doctor replied.
“Well, every time I putt, the ball goes to the right,” Boehm replied.
“When I do the other one, I’ll put it in to the left,” his doctor joked back.
Boehm, who turned 90 on April 28, certainly didn’t hook a recent shot right at the ninth hole of Pine Valley Golf Links in Pelham.
Using his 8-iron, he sent his ball straight down the fairway and it landed for a hole-in-one from 125 yards out.
For Boehm, who now lives in Lowell and began golfing in about 1956, it was his first hole-in-one since 1985 when he played for the telephone league.
“It felt great but you can’t see it go in the hole because it’s uphill,” Boehm said. “This other fellow I play with, he was on (the green). I thought that was my ball. He walked over to it and said, ‘This is my ball, Bucky.’”
Boehm presumed he had hit his over the green. His friend suggested he look in the sand trap.
“I couldn’t see it and then I started walking up toward the hole and I got there and I saw the ball in the bottom, and I said, ‘Hey, Billy, it’s in the hole,’” Boehm recalled. “I said, ‘You come and look before I take it out.’”
Boehm graduated from Methuen High in 1941. He played football and basketball for the Rangers. Seventy-two years later, he’s still going strong. He plays golf five times a week and has a 22-handicap.
“My legs are gone,” he said. “I ride (the course) most of the time and I have a little Emphysema. But outside of that, I feel pretty good. I think chipping is probably the best part of my game. I used to be a great chipper and putter, but my putting is a little off.”
He and his wife moved to Lowell after getting married. His wife passed away about six years ago.
“She was a sweet gal and we had a great time,” Boehm said.
His son and daughter also live in Lowell.
“And they keep checking up on me to see if I’m OK,” Boehm said. “I have great kids.”
Boehm said he is the first person ever to be inducted into the Methuen High Hall of Fame. That was in 1981.
He actually played in 833 professional baseball games from 1946 through 1951. He reached as high up as Triple-A in 1946 with the then-minor league San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League.
In his professional baseball career, he batted .253 with 47 homers, 43 triples and 141 doubles.
“(Hitting) kept me out of the big leagues,” he admitted. “I couldn’t hit enough.”
Boehm played in the minors with left-handed pitcher Bobby Shantz who was the 1952 AL MVP, as well as southpaw All-Star pitcher Lou Brissie.
“I still correspond with a couple of them who I played in the minors with,” Boehm said.
“I have some good memories,” he added.