Fleer got married in 1998 to Sports Illustrated. This was a match made in heaven. Here's just one example of a base card from 98, showing off the poster boy wunderkind himself Junior Griffey.
The back - is that Joe Robbie Stadium? That's an interesting choice. Anyway, they tried to predict what the player would do in the following season. They actually short-changed The Kid by 3 homers!
From the beginning of the relationship, Sports Illustrated provided context for the greats of the past and the present. This would eventually become it's own set in the early 2000s - Fleer's Greats of the Game without mentioning S.I. at all.
My favorite part of this pairing? Putting Sports Illustrated covers on baseball cards. GENIUS!
The 1999 base set again had a simple enough design that let the player's personality come through in great photography.
This is just a bonus - came in the same COMC order... This card has a 3-D effect with raised textures like Upper Deck's Ovation sets a decade later.
Let's hear it for Fleer for once! Not bad. I missed all of these cards the first time around as I stopped collecting seriously around 1996 or so. I missed out on the greatest decision Fleer ever made!