The 1975 Tides would actually play great ball thanks to future 10 year MLB veteran Mike Vail who in a qualifying 450 Plate Appearances (.394 OBP, .888 OPS 23 2B, 9 3B, 7 HR) took over the all time batting record for this ballpark by hitting .342... a mark which would stand til the very end for Met Park. He joined with Craig Swan (13-7, 2.24) and other future Mets ... Dwight Bernard (9-9, 3.29) and Nino Espinosa (8-5, 2.62) as well as Bruce Bosclair (16 2B, 20 SB, .278), Leo Foster (.247), Rod Staiger (team leading 9 HR, .282) and famed backup catcher Ron Hodges (.266) to take Tidewater back to the playoffs and this time, go all the way to the end as the Tides won their 2nd International League Championship in 4 years. It was an incredibly exciting season to be in Virginia Beach that year. The fun wouldn't last long however as the team plunged to the bottom of the league the following year. 1976 was an odd sort of season as there was some great pitching with Nino Espinosa (7-3, 2.92), Rick Baldwin (8-4, 2.31), Bob Myrick (2-0, 2.63) and Jackson Todd (13-9, 2.91) joining up with some "really not so good pitching" in Randy Tate (7-14, 6.20), Jeff Grose (3-12, 4.58) and a returning Dwight Bernard (1-9, 6.40). There were however two really strong players in the batting order with Billy Baldwin posting a 20 2B, 17 HR, 72 RBi, 18 SB, .271 season and the first that Tidewater would see of the future Mets catching star John Stearns (17 2B, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 11 SB, .310). Stearns would in some ways be the best player this Tidewater team had ever produced as he was destined for the "mid-summer classic" 4 times. This took over the all time All-Star appearance record for a Tidewater Tide from Jon Matlack and Ken Singleton who made the All-Star squad 3 times in their careers. Stearns came to the team as the key player in the Phillies trade for Don Hahn and Tug McGraw. John Stearns' best seasons came in 1977 (12 HR, .251) when he made it to the mid-summer classic for the 1st time and in 1978 when he was actually over looked when he posted his best numbers ever with 24 2B, 15 HR, 73 RBI, 25 SB and a .264 making him easily one of the best (and certainly fastest) offensive catchers in the game. In 1980, he began to lose all his power but he could still hit, batting .285 and in his final full season in 1982 before hitting the disabled list with a bad elbow, he was hitting .293 with 17 SB and 25 2B before his career came to very quick end.