Who else is second best?

Updated: August 27, 2005, 2:10 PM ET
ESPN.com

Andy Roddick recently joked that his best chance at beating Roger Federer was to punch him. Well, he likely won't go that far, but Roddick has fallen into the "second-best" category. Here's a look at other sports figures whose luck always came up short:

Alydar
This talented thoroughbred memorably lost all three 1978 Triple Crown races to Affirmed -- the Kentucky Derby by 1 lengths, the Preakness by a nose and the Belmont by a neck. It is widely viewed as the greatest Triple Crown matchup in history. Over the course of their careers, Affirmed took seven of 10 races from Alydar.

Ralph Branca
Bobby Richardson's hit traveled only 315 feet, but it became known as the "Shot Heard 'Round the World." Branca, the Brooklyn Dodgers relief pitcher, had the misfortune to serve up the fateful home run on Oct. 3, 1951 at the Polo Grounds. The homer gave the New York Giants the National League pennant.

Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings
Both teams are 0-4 in the Super Bowl. The Bills won four straight AFC Championships, only to come up short in football's ultimate game. The closest Buffalo came was in the first attempt, a 20-19 loss in Super Bowl XXV to the New York Giants as Scott Norwood's last-second 47-yard field-goal attempt went wide right. The Vikings lost four Super Bowls in a span of eight years, from 1969-76, and were outscored by a total of 95-34.

Karl Malone
The Utah Jazz forward played 19 NBA seasons and never won a championship, losing twice to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls. He even tried a one-season stint with Shaq, Kobe and the Lakers, but fell to the Pistons in the NBA Finals. Malone remains the all-time No. 2 scorer in league history with 36,928 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 38,387.

Jan Ullrich
In head-to-head competition, Ullrich has lived in the shadow of seven-time Tour de France winner lance Armstrong. The German cyclist, who won his only Tour de France in 1997, has had five second-place finishes since, three of which were to Armstrong.

Jerry West and the Los Angeles Lakers
During West's Hall of Fame career, he and his team lost to the Boston Celtics six times in the NBA Finals -- all in the 1960s and three times in seven games. West was named the first Finals MVP in a losing effort in 1969. The Lakers won their only championship during his 15-year career in 1972.

Michigan Basketball
The "Fab Five" (Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson) lost in back-to-back NCAA Championship games  against Duke (1992) and North Carolina (1993). The second loss was a tough pill to swallow with Chris Webber's infamous time out.