I wanted to do a quick post for my OTHER Opening Day tradition - identifying which is the oldest BBM set that contains a card of an active NPB player. With the retirement of Kosuke Fukudome, the last player who appeared in the 1999 and 2000 sets, that honor now falls on the 2001 set due to the appearance of Hiroyuki Nakajima, the Lions fifth pick in the 2000 draft:
|2001 BBM #426|
Nakajima is the last active NPB player from the 2001 set (although Seiichi Uchikawa is still playing in indy ball). There are three active players who were rookies in 2002 (Masanori Ishikawa, Takumi Kuriyama and Takeya Nakamura), one from 2003 (Tsuyoshi Wada) and one from 2004 (Norichika Aoki) so if Nakajima retires this season it's likely that one of those three sets will be the next in line.