Phelps spent three years working as an agate clerk for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch while attending Hazelwood West (Mo.) High School, entering the statistical information for high school box scores.
"The coaches would call in and give the stats, and I'd put them in the computer," Phelps said. "It was simple, sitting behind a computer all the time. I played basketball, and I always had a rule that I wouldn't touch my own games.
"When the coach would call in, I'd pass the phone to someone else. It was the perfect job, because it fit my schedule. I could finish my game that day, go home, shower and come in, and then the phones would start ringing."
Phelps was reminded of the entry-level position, which he held beginning at age 16 until graduation, as he scrolled through text messages from more than 50 friends and family members following his big league debut on Sunday.
As newspapers thudded on doorsteps across the country on Monday morning, Phelps' name was appearing in the Yankees-Rays box score, showing a clean ERA of 0.00 and one strikeout.
"It was tough to go to bed last night," Phelps said. "I'm trying to take in everything that happened, really how special it was, not only for me, but my family and friends. You don't want it to stop there, though."