"It goes without saying how great of a player he is," Jeter said. "I've always had a lot of respect for George Brett and what he was able to accomplish. I was aware of it a few days ago. But we're out there trying to win games, so I'm not up there thinking about who I could pass or anything like that."
Brett acknowledged Jeter's accomplishment in a statement released by the Yankees. The 1999 Hall of Fame inductee played 21 seasons, all with the Royals, from 1973 through 1993, and had a lifetime .305 batting average.
"I'm always kind of bummed out when guys pass you, because you had your own place in the record book for a while, and I had that one there for a while," Brett said. "But a guy like Derek comes around and passes you, really, I think it all depends on the type of person that did it. I have the utmost respect for him.
"I've only met him one time, very briefly, but for a guy to play as long as he has in New York, and I've never heard one bad thing said about the guy. He's definitely a team player, he's a clutch player. He's been the backbone of [the Yankees] for a long, long time, and when a guy like that passes you, I'd like to shake his hand and look him in the eye and say 'Congratulations.'"
Comparing Jeter and Brett, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, "Two tremendous hitters; one who is in the Hall of Fame and one who is going to the Hall of Fame. It's quite an accomplishment. It just shows you the durability and consistency that Derek Jeter has had for a long, long time."
Earlier this weekend, Jeter moved ahead of Paul Waner (3,152). He has surpassed boyhood idol Dave Winfield (3,110), Tony Gwynn (3,141) and Robin Yount (3,142) since the season started, Hall of Famers all.
"My job is to get hits, get on base, score runs," Jeter said. "That's always been the job. I just try to be as consistent as possible."
The next player on the all-time list for Jeter to pursue is Cal Ripken Jr., who ranks 13th with 3,184 career hits. Jeter acknowledged that being considered near Ripken in any category is meaningful.
"With him being a shortstop, it's someone that I really looked up to," Jeter said. "So, yeah, that would be special. You tie Cal, or pass Cal, or are close to Cal in anything, it's pretty remarkable."