- Running for a few miles every day is a big part of Doug's training routine. So he is normally one of the early arrivals in the clubhouse.
Fister bats lefthanded and throws righthanded. He was born in Merced, California and attended Golden Valley High School. He then attended Merced College, and later Fresno State University. Fister spent four seasons (2006–2009) in the Seattle Mariners minor league organization before being promoted to the Major League roster in 2009.
Fister was born February 4, 1984, to Larry and Jan Fister. Larry Fister is a fire captain who played football at Fresno State University from 1976 to 1977. Jan is a homemaker. Fister has three siblings; a brother and two sisters. He grew up in Merced, California where he began playing baseball at the age of 6.
He was a fan of both the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants as a child. His favorite player was Cal Ripken Jr. Fister also played soccer, football, and basketball as a child. He shares a middle name (Wildes) with both his father and grandfather.
Larry Fister, Doug’s father, taught his sons to be calm and steady under any circumstance. No matter how scary it gets. Or how much pressure there is. Or how bad it gets.
Relax. Do your job. And stay focused. That's the family mantra.
"You have emotion, you just have to learn how to control it—until you get your job done," said Larry Fister, a no-nonsense man who is retired after working as a firefighter for 20 years and a police officer for 12 years in Merced, California.
His son, Jake Fister (Doug’s brother), is a hero—from a long line of heroes.
Jake Fister is an emergency medical technician. Jake Fister said when he was treating a patient—no matter how dire the circumstance—he couldn't think of them as a patient. He tries to think of them as a problem that needs to be fixed. "You have to think of something being broken," Jake Fister said. "It sounds horrible. But it's something that needs to be fixed."
Which brings us to Larry Fister's other son.The one you might have heard of. His name is Doug Fister. And Doug Fister approaches his job the same was as his father and his brother.
Stay relaxed. Stay calm. And try to fix the problems as they pop up. Relax. Do your job. And stay focused.
"No matter what game you're pitching, it's important to stay focused," Fister said, "and to do the things you know how and the things you've done to prepare all year, whether it's been in the off-season or during the season, just to really kind of stay true to yourself and stay within your guidelines."
His Dad couldn't have said it any better.
- Doug grew up in Merced, California. He was a Giants fan and teenage devotee of Will Clark and his teammates, young enough to dream about pitching in the relatively new AT&T Park.
- Doug and former MLB catcher Dusty Ryan graduated in the same class.
When both were in Detroit, Fister and Tigers catcher Brayan Pena became close. The stocky catcher who defected from Havana, Cuba at age 16 and the lanky pitcher from Merced, Calif.—but it seems like they’ve known each other much longer.
“Brayan is just such a lovable guy,” Fister said. “And he has the same personality with everyone on this team; he’s glue for everybody. He does little things like that handshake. That’s a handshake that comes from the heart. You can get close to Brayan pretty quickly.
One example of that occurs whenever Pena catches Fister.
“I like to go out and go by feel on the hitters,” Fister said. “I don’t watch video. And Brayan is a video and study guy all the way.”
Pena said, “Doug is an old-school guy on preparation. It’s about feeling and reading the hitters, and he’s great at it. To be able to smell what somebody else is cooking is really impressive.”
The catcher held up a page filled with three-digit numbers coded for references to each Red Sox hitter, and said, “This is something I go over with all the other pitchers.” Then Pena turned over the sheet to the blank side, adding, “This is for Doug.”
Pena said he likes how Fister goes about doing things for others without publicity.
“Doug takes a lot of time to work with kids, problem kids and all kinds, with his girlfriend,” Pena said.
Fister and Ashley Phelps, a science teacher and water polo and swimming coach at Merced High, work with students there.
Doug's dream in college was to be an architect. But, if hadn't become a baseball player, he most like would've been a police officer or a firefighter. Those two professions go back at least four generations—all the way back to his great-grandfather, who was a fireman in the 19th century.
His father, Larry, an athletic man who played football at Fresno State, was a fire captain and SWAT team member in Merced, Calif.
"I went to school for teaching, but I really like law enforcement, the military and stuff like that. It was definitely a possibility of me going into a career like that."
During his father's career as a firefighter, Doug also spent a lot of time in the firehouse and around firemen. What really rubbed off on him was the sense of family.
"Trust. That's the epitome of the police and fire department," Fister said. "You have to trust one another and have each other's backs. That's not just on the job. That's off the job too." (Tom Worgo - Baseball Digest - Jan., 2015)
Fister loved talking pitching (and life) with former teammate Chris Tillman. He was in awe of Felix Hernandez when he was promoted to the big leagues, and as dazzled as anyone when the Mariners traded for Cliff Lee months after the lefty had pitched the Phillies to the 2009 World Series.
Fister has tried to learn something from all of the pitchers he's been around. He thinks about those things every day. "It's definitely been a help for me, something I cherish and really feel honored to be a part of," Fister said. "Those guys are where they are because of the hard work and the talent they've got. There's a lot of reasons I should pick their brains. That was the mentality I had, and I did."
Doug joined the Nationals in the winter of 2013 under unexpected circumstances. Fister had just finished his second full season with the Tigers. He followed up by compiling a 2.40 ERA in two postseason starts, though Detroit fell to the eventual-champion Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.
He was gearing up for another season at Comerica Park. But late in the night on Dec. 2, the Tigers dealt the consistent and battled-tested Fister to Washington—a move that left fans and Fister scratching their heads. "Obviously, I was surprised," Fister said. "There wasn't any precursor coming up to it or anything."
Fister's mood quickly changed, though, when phone calls and text messages started pouring in from Nationals players, welcoming him to his new home. Part of the reason for the group's impressive outreach stemmed from Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, who, according to Ian Desmond, gave the Nats a "scouting report" on Fister's renowned presence as a team-first player.
"It's all held true," Desmond said. It was the subtle collective gesture Fister needed to replace his confusion with excitement, and his commitment to the organization—not only as a pitcher, but also as a teammate—has never wavered.
"That's something that makes the whole process of going into new territory, a new team, and everything else a lot easier," Fister said. "And I've loved it ever since." (Popper - mlb.com - 7/24/14)
The Nationals have loved Doug, as Fister has exceeded expectations on the field. However, Fister's ability to contribute early in the 2014 season was delayed due to multiple injuries during Spring Training. First, he encountered elbow inflammation early in March 2014. He worked his way back onto the field after several weeks, only to strain his right lat muscle in late March.
The second injury forced Fister to miss the first month of the season. And for a fierce competitor like Fister, watching hopelessly from the dugout during a time when he should have been proving his worth to new teammates and coaches transformed his excitement into frustration.
As he always has, though, Fister found a way to be productive even if he couldn't play. He was the team's biggest cheerleader, and he made sure to always provide an ear to anybody wanting to talk baseball—or anything, for that matter.
"I tried to not let any time go by and waste," Fister said. "I spent [it] working on the relationships with the guys and learning what it takes to interact with each one. I put extra effort into knowing these guys. I didn't know anybody coming into it, so I felt like [we grew] together in a short time as much as you can without playing."
Fister made his Nationals debut in May 2014. He said that it was a relief to finally get back on the field. "There was some extra energy there," Fister said.
Fister has provided the Nationals' starting rotation with exactly what it was missing: a quick-working, strike-zone-pounding workhouse who places complete faith in the defense behind him. Between Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann, the Nats are stacked with legitimate strikeout pitchers. Fister, meanwhile, as a sinkerballer, pitches to contact. (Popper - mlb.com - 7/24/14)
Animal Lovers: Doug Fister made his trip to spring training in Viera, Florida in an RV. He was accompanied by his wife Ashley, two dogs, and two cats.
August 3-6, 2016: Doug was on the paternity list.
- June 2006: The Mariners chose Fister in the 7th round, out of Fresno State University. Fister signed for a bonus of $50,000.
- July 30, 2011: The Tigers sent OF Casper Wells, INF Francisco Martinez, and LHP Charlie Furbush to the Mariners, acquiring Fister and RHP David Pauley.
- January 18, 2013: Fister and the Tigers agreed to a $4 million contract for 2013, avoiding arbitration.
- December 2, 2013: The Nationals sent LHP Ian Krol, 2B Steve Lombardozzi, and LHP Robbie Ray to the Tigers; acquiring Fister.
February 1, 2014: Doug and the Nats avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year contract in the $7 million area.
January 16, 2015: Fister and the Nats avoided aribitration, agreeing on a one-year $11.4 million pact.
January 28, 2016 The Astros signed free agent Fister to a one-year contract for $7 million and could earn another $5 million in potential performance bonuses.
Nov 3, 2016: Fister chose free agency.
May 20, 2017: The Angels signed free agent Fister.
- June 21, 2017: The Angels released Fister.
- June 23, 2017: The Red Sox claimed free agent Doug