The Viking Named Curly
Olaf Gustave Hazard "Curly" Oden was considered the greatest living Rhode Island athlete of his time. Born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1899, he arrived in Rhode Island when he was 3 months old. He was a direct descendant from the ancient vikings. Oden attended Classical High, where he played football, baseball and captained the school's hockey team. He enrolled at Brown University and continued playing on the gridiron and baseball diamond. At Brown he scored 8 touchdowns and passed for five more as a senior. Also a star shortstop, he was invited to tryout for the Major League Brooklyn Superbas (former Dodger's nickname) after graduating in 1921.
Oden's NFL career began with the Providence Steam Roller in 1925 and he soon became a star running back and punt returner. He was a member of Providence's 1928 NFL Championship team. He played with the Steam Roller through 1931 before finishing up with the Boston Braves for one game in 1932. In his career, Oden rushed for eight touchdowns, caught four more in the air, passed for two, and scored five on kickoff and punt returns, a league record at the time. He accounted for 106 points in his professional career. He was also player/coach for the Providence Huskies, the only team in professional football history to go undefeated and unscored upon in 1933.
He failed to report to Brooklyn's spring training in 1922 and was suspended. After playing with the Steam Roller nine in 1923 he returned in 1924 after being reinstated by Commissioner Landis. In 1925 he suited up for the Newark Bears/Providence Grays (AA) of the International League with a .263 average. From 1926 to 1928, Oden played summer baseball for the Falmouth Commodores in the Cape Cod Baseball League. An all-league shortstop who also managed the team in 1927 and 1928, Oden was known for his "timely hitting and accurate throwing," and was "the king of the base stealers in the league," having "thrilled the crowds on several occasions by stealing home."