Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 5/24/12
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - As much as former Royal George Brett didn't like the New York Yankees when he was playing, he doesn't seem to mind that Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is about to pass him on the all-time hits list. At 3,152 career hits, Jeter is just two hits shy of tying Brett for 15th place all time. "If it's going to be someone and if it's going to be a Yankee, " Brett told FOX Sports Kansas City by phone Thursday, "I'd rather it be Derek Jeter. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. "You'd rather see it be someone like him than some jerk you'd just as soon see break their legs before they pass you. Derek is a great player and he plays the game right." Brett said he has only met Jeter once, many years ago. "I can't even remember where exactly it was," Brett said. "But he struck me as a good guy, very thoughtful. "I do remember when he first came up to the big leagues. He was kind of a singles hitter, just trying to punch the ball somewhere. Then he really developed into a solid hitter with some pop. And he's had a great career." Brett also admires the way Jeter has conducted himself off the field. "The thing that maybe impresses me the most is that he's been able to stay out of trouble," Brett said. "You never hear anything bad being said about him. He's never in the news about something bad. To be able to say that when you spend your whole career in New York City, which is maybe the toughest place to play in baseball, that says a lot. "The guy's been single and living there and led a pretty clean life, it seems. That says something about his character." Jeter's character on the field has caught Brett's attention, too. "He's one of those guys who kind of takes the pressure off everyone else," Brett said. "He somehow kind of gets the pressure to be all on him, which makes it easier for the other guys to play around him. And he always seems to come through under pressure situations. "That's the kind of teammate you really want." Brett has some advice to Jeter, too, as Jeter marches up the hits list: Enjoy it each time you pass someone. "It's really fun to stop and reflect when you pass someone," Brett said. "I remember passing guys along the way Rod Carew and Lou Brock and Al Kaline and many others and I would think 'Wow, those guys could really, really play. What am I doing passing them?' "But you learn to appreciate the history. Be proud of it." Brett was in New York on Monday and Tuesday with the Royals as part of an All-Star junket. Brett is Kansas City's official ambassador for this year's All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. "I was watching him get hits and getting a little closer (to 3,154)," Brett said. "In the back of your mind, you don't really want to see guys passing you. But in this case, it's not so bad because it's Derek Jeter and he plays the game hard and the right way."
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