UF Baseball: Right Field Berm to be Named Todd Prosser-Sandy Burnett Family Berm
Courtesy of UF Athletic Association
Over the course of Ted Prosser Jr.’s lengthy career as a wealth advisor, the native Floridian got to know folks from all walks of life. Born in Leesburg and now retired in Ocala, the down-home Prosser usually connected easily with those interested in his services.
“I have a different type of business,” he said. “I’m just really good friends with my clients.”
Along the way Prosser met brothers George H. Burnett and Alexander H. “Sandy” Burnett, who were originally from Pennsylvania but found a home in Florida and became successful in the agricultural business, harness racing, and other endeavors. George Burnett died in November 2002 at age 84, and Sandy Burnett passed away at age 86 in July 2005. In the wake of Sandy Burnett’s death, his nieces, Mary Ellen Burnett and Janet Jones, helped establish the A.H. Burnett Foundation and serve on its board.
The foundation has donated to a variety of charitable causes over the past 15 years, including several at the University of Florida. Add another one to the list. In recognition of generous gifts from Prosser and the A.H. Burnett Foundation to the University Athletic Association, the berm area along right field inside the new Florida Ballpark at Alfred A. McKethan Field will be known as the Todd Prosser-Sandy Burnett Family Berm.
Ted Prosser is grateful to have his late son Todd’s name recognized inside the new home of UF’s baseball team. Todd C. Prosser, who earned his undergrad and master’s degrees from UF, died unexpectedly at age 25 in November 2000 of a heart attack. The loss of his youngest son – Ted Prosser’s oldest son is Ted Prosser III – was another connection he had with Sandy Burnett, who was preceded in death by his son Alexander R. Burnett.
“I read something once that mattered to me: when you stop talking about people who die, then they really do die,” Prosser said. “If you still tell a funny story, you share a good moment, and you talk about somebody, then they’re around a long time.”
Ted and Todd bonded over sports and spent many days and nights at McKethan Stadium watching the Gators play, first when Todd was growing up and then in the late 1990s when Todd was a student at UF.
Ted cherishes the memories and is looking forward to the first game in the new stadium. He knows Todd would be, too.
“We would always go to baseball games together. We used to go way back to when you sat in the old bleachers,” Prosser said. “We’d sit there and talk to each other as the game was playing. Todd and I just had a ball together there. He loved the University of Florida. He only applied to one school.”
The Burnett sisters preferred to have Prosser discuss the foundation’s latest gift to the Gators. The families have grown to become close friends and trusted allies over the years. Prosser recalls Sandy Burnett warmly, a man whom he had a bond with that only a few can understand.
“There’s a big hole in you when you lose your boy,” Prosser said. “He was the funniest, most interesting man you’ve ever met. He’s the one who set all this up, and so many benefits have been received by the university. Of course, it wasn’t just for the university, but Mary Ellen and Janet love the University of Florida.”
The Prosser-Burnett gift is the latest to add a special touch to Florida Ballpark, which is scheduled to open in 2021.
“We are grateful for the generous gifts by the Burnett and Prosser families,” said Athletic Director Scott Stricklin. “It is very appropriate the families named the berm area in our new ballpark where so many families will get to enjoy Gators Baseball for years to come.”
Finishing touches are being applied to the estimated $65-million Florida Ballpark, and demolition of McKethan Stadium is ongoing.