I got this year's BBM 2nd Version set in the mail from Rob Fitts the other day.
I think BBM has been trying to figure out what purpose the 2nd Version set serves ever since they started making them in 2002. The first three sets (2002-04) were roughly the same size as the 1st Version sets. The biggest difference in the sets was that 1st Version had the League Leader subset and 2nd Version didn't. The next three sets (2005-07) were smaller than the 1st Version sets. Instead of 35-40 player cards per team, they only had 9-15. They also contained update subsets - cards in the format of the 1st Version set with either players who were traded during the season or players who didn't have cards in the 1st Version set. Because of that, those 2nd Version sets didn't stand on their own. They were more an addendum to the 1st Version sets.
This year's set has broken away from that somewhat. There's no 1st Version update subset, so the set stands on its own. The set contains 252 cards. There are 180 player cards, which breaks down to 15 per team. As usual, BBM has gotten some really good pictures for the cards. Here's a sampling:
Of the 180 players pictured, 21 of them did not appear in the 1st Version set. Here's the list - Susumu Kawaii (Dragons), Kazuki Yoshimi (Dragons), Yuya Hasegawa (Hawks), Yusuke Kosai (Hawks), Jeremy Powell (Hawks), Aarom Baldris (Tigers), Minoru Iwata (Tigers), Masato Akamatsu (Carp), Soichiro Amaya (Carp), Eric Junge (Buffaloes), Satoshi Komatsu (Buffaloes), Ramon Ortiz (Buffaloes), Shogo Yamamoto (Buffaloes), Katsumi Yamashita (Eagles), Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (Swallows), Keizo Kawashima (Swallows), Kyohei Muranaka (Swallows), Takehiko Oshimoto (Swallows), Tomoya Inzen (Giants), Yoshiyuki Kamei (Giants), and Hayato Sakamoto (Giants).
(Notice that the Chang-Yong Lim is wearing a throwback Yakult Atoms uniform. There's a couple cards showing Atoms uniforms.)
The set also features the usual team checklists with the usual silly pictures:
Hmm, didn't realize that Toshihisa Nishi could shoot a spacium ray.
There are four 12 card subsets (1 player from each team) - Title Wars (stars), Breaking Now (breakout players), Pick Up Rookies (self explanatory), and Power Of Veteran (older players). Not everyone appearing in the subsets has a card in the regular player cards - Kimiyasu Kudoh in the Power Of Veteran's set for example.
One of the subsets that has been a constant for the 2nd Version set since 2004 has been the First Pitch subset which shows retired players and celebrities throwing out the first pitch at games. While this mercifully didn't get commemorated, the subset does include a collection of sumo wrestlers, models, musicians and golfers, among others. Because of this subset, a gold winning Olympian does appear in the BBM set:
For the most part, I like the set. The biggest issue I have is that the player selection was kind of odd. I'm not sure why if you've only got 15 players per team you'd have cards of Kazuhiro Kiyohara or Sho Nakata, neither of whom had appeared in a ichigun game as of when the cards went to press. The other issue is that some of the players have pictures that are very similar to their 1st Version cards. Even the Swallows team checklist shows the Swallows mascot, just like the 1st Version checklist does. But these are minor quibbles.