The 2009 BBM 1st Version set has been out for about a month and half now. I just got mine last week. It's basically a typical BBM "regular" set. For the most part I like the set but there's a couple things I thought could have been better. The set contains 554 regular cards along with a couple insert sets (including the standard Best 9 and Golden Glove sets) and assorted memorabilia/autograph cards.
There are 36 "regular" cards (including the manager) for each team. As has been typical for BBM the last few years, the fronts of these cards feature beautiful full bleed photos. Here's a couple example cards of Norihiro Nakamura (#169), Takuya Kimura (#234), Shunsuke Ishikawa (#265), Ryosuke Hirata (#313) and Munenori Kawasaki (#203):
I was somewhat surprised that BBM did not get pictures of many of the Lions and BayStars players in their new uniforms. I've always felt that BBM was really good about having up-to-date photos in their sets and this is the first time I've noticed this much of a mismatch. It may simply be that since the Lions and Baystars uniforms are so obviously different that it stands out more this year than others.
Instead of featuring amusing candid photos as has been the case lately, this year's team checklists show the team's mascots. I was kind of disappointed by this as I had been enjoying the checklist photos lately. And the mascot theme was used back in 2000. Here's the Marine's checklist (#546):
As usual, the set contains a subset featuring last years statistical leaders and award winners along with a card for the Nippon Series Champion Lions. This subset has 32 cards this year, and includes multiple cards for some players who either led the league in multiple categories or won multiple awards. The cards themselves feature a smaller than normal photo surrounded by a thick faux wood paneling border. I have to say that I don't think much of the design. Here's the Hold Points leader card for the Tigers' Tomoyuki Kubota (#459) as an example:
There is a 12 card "2008 Record Making Players" subset featuring a card for each team commemorating some historic event in 2008. This includes Alex Cabrera's 300th home run, Kazuhisa Ishii's 100th win and Tomoaki Kanemoto's 2000th hit. Some of these, however, I have no idea what they're for - especially the card of Carp manager Marty Brown, who did something of note on April 26th last year. Here's the card commemorating Masahiro Yamamoto's 200th career win (#473):
The set also contains a 24 card subset entitled "Rookie Of The Year Preview". This subset features two players from each team that BBM feels could be a possible Rookie Of The Year. They had a similar subset last year that contained neither of the actual winners, so one might question their selections. Here's the card of Keijiro Matsumoto (#500):
The next subset in the set is the 24 card "Game Masters" set. As you can probably guess, the 24 cards means that there are two cards per team. In this case, there's a pitcher and batter represented from each team. I typically don't go in for these kind of cards much, but I have to say that this is a pretty attractive subset. Each card features an action shot of the player in the foreground with a zoomed in closeup of his face from the same shot as the background. The subset contains a pretty good collection of players as well, including Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tuffy Rhodes, Nobuhiko Matsunaka, Michihiro Ogasawara, Norichika Aoki and Seiichi Uchikawa. Here's the Shunsuke Watanabe card (#507):
There's a nine card "Trading Team" subset that features nine players who were traded or signed with new teams over the winter. I have to say that I found this subset to be pretty worthless. Besides the fact that they obviously already had cards of these guys with their new team in the regular cards, the subset repeats a subset from this year's Rookie Edition set. That set included cards for Takuro Ishii, Norihiro Nakamura, Tomohiro Nioka, Toshihiro Noguchi and Takayuki Shimizu. All five of these players appear in this subset as well, along with Makoto Kosaka, Arihito Muramatsu, Michael Nakamura, and Naoyuki Ohmura. Here's Noguchi's card (#533):
The final subset of the set is the 9 card "The Last Appearance" set. These cards feature players who retired last season, including Kazuhiro Kiyohara and Takanori Suzuki. Unlike some of the previous years, only players are included rather than coaches or managers so Sadaharu Oh is not here. Most of the players are shown either being tossed in the air by teammates or smiling and waving to the crowd. The lone exception is this card of Hiroyuki Takagi (#534), who looks like he's about to be handed a blindfold and a cigarette: