Monday, May 9, 2016

The Greatest Decision Fleer Ever Made

 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!


  1. I absolutely LOVE the base set, and that's not even mentioning how awesome the magazine-cover inserts are.

  2. Magazine covers on baseball cards are always winners. When Beckett issued some cards featuring their covers for the National last year (I think), I was super excited to pick up a Kris Bryant graced single. I sure wouldn't mind seeing this marriage in the mainstream again!

  3. Can't say I'm the biggest fan of Fleer Sports Illustrated cards... but I gotta admit that Griffey card at the top of the post is outstanding. I'm tempted to go out and buy a complete set... just to throw it in a binder so I can flip through it.

    As for Fleer's best decisions, here are a few of my favorites:

    #1: To put Roger and Kirby in their 84 Update set.
    #2: To be the first company to insert Gwynn autographs into packs back in '92.
    #3: To produce the 86/87 basketball set with the iconic Jordan card.
    #4: To slip the Billy Ripken f-face card into packs.
    #5(t): To utilize stickers to counter Topps' gum.
    #5(t): To have athletes add their nicknames to their signatures in '06.

    1. All good decisions! Great points. I have to agree on Kirby / Roger / Doc Gooden in the update set.

  4. I don't think I'd ever seen those '97/98 Fleer base cards. '97-06 is a complete mystery to me.