Last year, Armando Galarraga was cheated out of a perfect game at Detroit's Comerica Park by a blown call at first base. As a result, no pitcher had ever thrown a perfect game at the Tigers' new home park entering the 2011 season.
That statistic still holds for Major League Baseball, but it's no longer true for the stadium itself, thanks to a seven-inning gem turned in last week by Detroit (Mich.) Western High ace Todd Phelps against Detroit (Mich.) Renaissance High in the Public School League championship game.
According to the Detroit News, the 8-0 Western victory on the Tigers' home diamond Thursday handed the senior and his teammates a Public League title and may have etched Phelps' name in more than one record book in the process. In addition to being the first perfect game pitched at Comerica Park, the no-no is also believed to be the first ever pitched in a Detroit Public School League title game.
"I never ... thought I'd do it," Phelps told the News. "I tried not to think about it. I tried to stay humble. I started to think about it in the fourth or fifth inning. Nobody talked about it (in the dugout). They didn't want to say anything."
The statistics from the best outing of Phelps' high school career are truly startling for a pitcher who entered with a middling 4-3 record. The ace threw just 77 pitches to retire the 21 batters he faced, with just three balls reaching the outfield, all of which were caught by Western left fielder Chris Torres. Only three batters reached a favorable 3-1 count in the game, and all three times those batters struck out.
According to both Phelps and his catcher, Pedro Lara, the senior's curveball proved to be the unhittable weapon that put his outing over the top, even if all agreed that the feat was truly unforeseen. After all, Phelps hadn't even pitched a complete game in the 2011 season, let alone a no-hitter.
That hardly mattered on a night when Phelps accomplished a rare feat that no Tiger hurler nor any peer in Detroit Public League history has been able to pull off.