When you think of the word “Mott,” you usually associate it with the brand of apple sauce, or the legendary rock group Mott the Hoople.
And for fans of the classic Warner Brothers cartoons, there was a character in the Chuck Jones-directed “Rocket-Bye Baby,” where a Martian baby had the name Mot.
But naming a child Mott isn’t something you hear about every day. The Tri-City ValleyCats have a young player by the name of Mott Hyde who plays shortstop for them.
And the funny thing is that Mott isn’t even his first name. It’s his middle name. Hyde’s first name is Daniel. But that never stuck.
So, where did it Mott come from?
“It kind of came out of nowhere,” said Hyde, who is from Calhoun, Ga. “My dad, that’s what they called him when he was growing up. I guess it kind of stuck, and he gave it to me.
“It’s a little odd, but original.”
There was very little razzing about the name while he was growing up and also playing four years at Georgia Tech. But he has heard the jokes about being called Mott applesauce or Mott the Hoople.
“Maybe [some grief] from opposing teams,” Hyde said. “Everybody accepts it. … I’m comfortable with it. I’ve kind have accepted everything.”
Hyde said his father told him many stories about the origin of Mott.
“I don’t know which ones are true,” Hyde said. “Apparently, his brother called him that growing up. It stuck with him.”
In this day and age of strange names, nothing surprises ’Cats manager Ed Romero.
“In this game today, you hear all kind of names you’ve never heard before,” Romero said.
Another interesting fact about Hyde is that while he grew up in Georgia, he was born in Saudi Arabia.
“I was there for about a year, maybe a little more” the 22-year-old Hyde said. “My dad actually started a carpet company there. My mom was a nurse when they met. My dad used to go back once a year.”
The right-handed Hyde was selected by the Houston Astros in the 26th round of the Major League Baseball draft earlier this month.
It wasn’t the first time that Hyde was drafted. Four years earlier, the Toronto Blue Jays picked Hyde in the 44th round.
However, Hyde decided to play college baseball at Georgia Tech. In his four years there, he batted .271 with 21 home runs and 147 RBI. In his senior season this year, Hyde batted a career-best .282 and was one of the team’s three captains.
His best home-run year was his sophomore season, when he hit seven. Hyde had a career-high 47 RBI in his freshman campaign.
“The biggest thing [about going to Georgia Tech] was the education,” Hyde said. “Georgia Tech is up there amongst the top in the country in education. A lot of my friends were going, too, so I decided to go.”
Growing up in Georgia, Hyde was a big fan of the Atlanta Braves. His favorite player was third baseman Chipper Jones.
“He was an iconic figure over there,” Hyde said.
Entering Wednesday’s New York-Penn League contest at the Lowell Spinners, Hyde was batting .278 in 11 games with two doubles, a triple and five RBI.
“He’s done a good job,” Romero said. “He’s shown good range. He’s got mobility, and he plays smart. He’s made some good plays at short. We’ve got to get him going with the bat.”