Jeter flared a shallow liner into center field facing the Red Sox's Junichi Tazawa in the seventh inning of Thursday's game at Fenway Park, driving in Steve Pearce with a run-scoring single.
"It's pretty special if you think about it," Jeter said. "But it's kind of hard to think about it now, because we're trying to win games -- especially this time of the year. But I'd be lying to you if I didn't think it was special."
The hit gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead over Boston, a margin of victory that would hold up as New York posted consecutive wins for the first time since an Aug. 13-15 series against the Rangers in New York.
Jeter has been hobbled by a bone bruise in his left ankle and moved slowly down the first-base line on the play, celebrating by clapping his hands after rounding the bag.
"There's no doubt that he's a leader and he leads by example," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's done that his whole career."
Due to discrepancies in historical statistics, some numbers may differ according to the source. Some statisticians rank Mays and Jeter 11th all-time due to conflicting accounts of Cap Anson's career hits total; both the Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistician of Major League Baseball, and MLB.com consider Jeter and Mays tied for 10th.
Jeter, 38, completed play on Thursday with a Major League-leading 195 hits this season, and he now owns a nine-game hitting streak. He and Mays are the only players in baseball history to record at least 3,000 hits, 250 home runs, 300 stolen bases and 1,200 RBIs in their careers.
"It's amazing. It really is," Girardi said. "It's amazing what he's done. [Mays] is some kind of name."