NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter stood at first base, reluctant to doff his batting helmet and acknowledge the roaring Yankee Stadium crowd.
He was even more hesitant to think about the storied franchise's ledgers, which now and forever will display his name in an even more prominent location.
Jeter's third-inning RBI single off the Blue Jays' Jesse Litsch on Wednesday gave the shortstop 2,416 hits for his career, carrying him past Mickey Mantle and into third place on the Yankees' all-time list. Jeter now trails only Lou Gehrig (2,721) and Babe Ruth (2,518).
"Any time you talk about those names -- just to say you played on the same team as those guys -- it's pretty special," Jeter said. "I just try to be as consistent as possible every year.
"Offensively, my job is to get hits and score runs. That's what I try to do. I guess if you play the game long enough, you may start to climb some of those lists."
The timing of the hit seemed fitting for Jeter, who has been the centerpiece of so many Yankees rallies over the years. The single gave New York its first run of the night on the way to an eventual 5-1 victory over Toronto.
Jeter said that he appreciated the standing ovation from the crowd of 51,151, calling it "special," but admitted he wasn't quite sure about how to react when the scoreboard presented the news of his eclipsing Mantle.
"It's kind of awkward in those situations, because it's a 1-0 game," he said. "You appreciate what the fans are doing, but you don't want to try to show up anybody."
Especially Yankee legends. It's been about 15 years since Jeter bashfully eyed Mantle wandering into his Class A Greensboro clubhouse, too shy to actually walk up to him and introduce himself. Jeter seemed to tread just as carefully on Wednesday.
|With one hit on Wednesday night vs. the Blue Jays, Derek Jeter passed Mickey Mantle for sole possession of third place on the Yankees' all-time hit list.|
"It's always cool when you talk about those types of names, but my name doesn't fit up there," he said.
Manager Joe Girardi disagreed, calling Jeter's passing of Mantle "awfully impressive."
"I think he does [fit]," Girardi said. "He's been so consistent over his career. Every year, he's knocking on the door of 200 hits. Derek's been a leader. Derek's been a constant in this lineup for so long, coming up with big hit after big hit. He does belong."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.