If you thought you were bad at singing, dancing, or some other talent, then this is the perfect list for you. Reading about these poor souls will make you feel loads better about your not-so-stellar guitar skills or sub-par pottery crafting ability. Throughout history, our world has seen some true geniuses, as well as some truly horrendous poets, lawyers, and sailors. This list includes ten of the most unskilled individuals who somehow managed to clinch fame and worldwide recognition for being so terrible at their professions.
We would never want to go on a camping trip with Thomas Nuttal, and we would by no means ever hire Dennis Hawver to represent us in a court of law. There have been prestigious university professors who saw their careers get ruined by excelling at being dead-wrong. Also, thanks to The Shaggs, we greatly envy deaf people. Yes, there are many jobs out there, yet some people simply choose the wrong one and land in the history books for all the wrong reasons.
Enjoy reading about these individuals and remember them the next time you feel like a total failure in gym class. At least you don’t have a statistic of failure named after you.
10. Mario Mendoza
The Pittsburgh Pirates are already known for being a less-than-stellar baseball team. Yet, one of their shortstops, Mario Mendoza, was among the worst ballplayers in the Major Leagues. With a batting average that leveled out at about .200, Mendoza played with the Pirates for five years as a replacement batter. He was then traded to the Seattle Mariners, but continued to flub in his at-bats. He was then moved to the Texas Rangers, but was canned after two disappointing seasons. His batting average was so bad that people in baseball started calling the .200 average the “Mendoza Line.” Ouch.
9. Pastor Maldonado
Pastor Maldonado is a race car driver from Venezuela that has earned the nickname “Crashtor,” and for good reason. He has earned a spot among the worst race car drivers in history, and seems to take his Formula One nickname in stride. He often jokes about his ever-growing series of crashes and errors on the race track, but he is not liked by many Formula One fans. Anytime there is a crash on the circuit, it is automatically assumed that Maldonado was to blame. On the rare occasion that he performs well on the track, he undoes everything with a series of crashes and burns. Is he just an accident-prone driver? If so, how did he get involved with F1?
8. The Shaggs
Protect your ears and refrain from listening to anything played by The Shaggs. This group was formed in 1968 in New Hampshire after Austin Wiggin decided to transform his three homely daughters into rock stars. The result will make your ears bleed. Helen, Dot, and Betty were so musically inept that their audience often throw objects at them when they performed. However, their father must have been super-determined, because The Shaggs tried to put out a record, entitled Philosophy of the World. In 2013, one of The Shaggs’ very own announced that she was going to put out a solo album. The world cried.
7. Dennis Hawver
As a lawyer, Dennis Hawver is guilty of “inexplicable incompetence.” The Kansas-based attorney is everything we do not want in a legal representative. While defending his client in a murder trial, Hawver described how he was a professional drug dealer and shooter. He made such a stunning case against his own client, that the court did away with Hawver and determined that his client would get another trial with a much more competent attorney. In yet another courtroom fiasco, Hawver entered the courtroom dressed as his “hero,” Thomas Jefferson. When he finally got disbarred, he proclaimed that he now had more time to devote to his vegetable gardening.
6. Thomas Nuttal
Thomas Nuttal was an esteemed naturalist. In terms of botany, he was gifted and helped future scientists and historians with his plant specimens. Yet, as an explorer, Nuttal was less than spectacular. He is cited as having upset his fellow travelers during one expedition in which he ditched using his rifle for defense; instead he favored to use it as a shovel to obtain more plant samples. It is also said that Nuttal often lost his way while exploring and had to be rescued by his peers. He often mistook travelers’ identities while traversing new paths, and he certainly could not hold his own against the Lewis and Clark expedition.
5. General John Pope
In the war against Generals John Pope and Robert E. Lee, the victor is obvious. General John Pope ended up leading his army right into the Confederate’s clutches and the result was 13,000 lost soldiers on the Union side. President Lincoln appointed Pope for the job as a Union general due to his no-holds-barred approach and aggressive attitude. Yet those qualities ended up biting Pope in the behind as his soldiers and commanders could not stand him. His self-righteousness got the better of him on several occasions, and his huge blunder against Confederate generals caused him to be remembered as an incompetent and abrasive leader.
4. Joseph Weber
Following in the footsteps of Albert Einstein, it would have seemed as though Joseph Weber was a capable young physicist. He carried out scientific experiments on gravitational waves, which were incredibly intriguing to researchers. Weber displayed his findings to the scientific community in 1970, and being an MIT physicist, he was lauded. However, when others tried to conduct his experiments, they could not accomplish anything. Turns out that Weber made huge miscalculations and his inventions and research were all a big wash. He determinedly continued his investigation, but to no avail, and was later shunned by scientists. So much for that.
3. Stuart Hill
Known as “Captain Calamity,” Stuart Hill has been rescued by coastal officials at least fifteen times. The aging seaman insists that sailing is his passion, but he just simply does not have a knack for it. Captain Calamity has racked up a rescue tab of over $45,000 and is a major contributor to the tens of thousands of seafaring misadventures that have occurred thus far. Despite pleas from his peers and even coastal authorities, the man continues to set out to sea. He had a complete blunder while trying to circumnavigate Britain and has been reprimanded by officials for maneuvering his unregistered watercraft. At one point, he needed seven different rescue efforts to save his skin in a sailing emergency.
2. Hugh Trevor-Roper
When Hugh Trevor-Roper passed away, a newspaper declared “Hitler Diaries Hoax Victim Lord Dacre Dies at 89.” Trevor-Roper was an esteemed history professor at Oxford university. He rubbed elbows with some prestigious intellectuals and taught tons of students. He held a large collection of books that he claimed were authentic diaries from German Nazis. Only after living his entire life in the shadow of those books was it revealed that they were all a bunch of fakes. The debacle diminished the admiration he earned for his own published book on the last days of Hitler’s life. Just goes to show you, you cannot trust your teachers.
1. William McGonagall
When a humorous editorial letter jokingly spotlighted William McGonagall’s work, he took it as proof that his true calling was poetry. McGonagall, who was from Britain, devoted about a quarter of his life to writing poems and verses that were painstakingly crafted – and written. The poor guy just had no talent for poetry, and was actually only paid once to write a poem (it was for a bar of soap.) Even so, there are circles dedicated to clinging onto McGonagall’s memory and writings, although it is more about celebrating his perseverance in the face of failure. The Brits love nothing more a tragic hero.