Though players like Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are the players who have dominated for the Nationals the past couple of years, Ryan Zimmerman remains one of the faces of the Washington Nationals franchise. His stats are not stellar this year – the power is still there, but he’s hitting .221 with a .284 on-base percentage, resulting in just a .686 OPS. But he has been with the Nationals since their first season in Washington, he’s finished in the top 25 of MVP voting multiple times, and has moved positions for them. He’s a respected veteran, the elder statesman of the franchise.
In addition to being a veteran ballplayer, Ryan Zimmerman is also a family man. His wife, Heather, has been by his side for many years, at home and in the ballpark, as well as at his charitable endeavors. They’ve created a family in DC, and while they keep a low profile, they are a beloved couple in the area.
Here’s what you need to know about Heather.
1. She and Ryan Were Friends for Several Years Before They Dated
Though Ryan and Heather got married just a few years ago, they’ve known each other far longer. Heather was interviewed by Matt’s Bats, an MLB.com blog, about her life and relationship with Ryan Zimmerman. She met Ryan fairly soon after college, when she “came back to the DC area.” Something that helped her, upon meeting him, was that as she says, “I didn’t know anything about sports or baseball, so when I found out who he was, I didn’t really understand or care. He was just a fun person I hung out with, who happened to have a cool job!” But once they began dating, things progressed quickly.
2. She Has Worked as An Associate Producer in Television and As a Tech-Firm Sales Rep
Heather Zimmerman has had a number of interesting jobs, at least according to the various outlets who have described what she does for a living. When the Washington Post broke the news that they were engaged, they referred to her as a “tech-firm sales rep.” But in her interview with Matt’s Bats, she says she went to college for journalism, and “worked as an Associate Producer at a news show through 2011.”
Since these jobs however, Heather has dedicated her life to traveling and raising their family, noting that “When I stopped working full time last year, I did start traveling on most of the road trips.” She also characterized other Nationals wives and girlfriends as “great,” saying they tend to schedule flights together when they go on road trips.
3. The Couple Was Engaged in 2012 and Married in 2013
In 2012, the couple was engaged to be married, having dated for about 2 years, according to Guest of a Guest. The engagement came not too long after an announcement that Zimmerman was signing a lengthy contract extension with the Nationals, a six year extension worth $100 million through 2019. With the future of his career set, it was time to do the same for his romantic life.
In January of 2013, the couple was married. True to their low-profile nature, the wedding was far from a star-studded event, with no paparazzi. Ultimately, they decided to go somewhat public with it a little later, giving photos to and appearing on the cover of Washington Bride & Groom Magazine. Heather wore a Lazaro gown, and according to the feature, the dance floor was at an angle to resemble a baseball diamond.
4. She and Ryan Have Two Children, The Youngest of Which Was Born in June
The Zimmermans wasted no time in starting a family after marriage. They were wed in January of 2013; in Novemer of that same year, Heather gave birth to their first child, Mackenzie. In a blog post Heather wrote about the birthing, she was open about the brief complications, as there was meconium that they needed to remove from the baby’s lungs. This was just a brief rough patch, however, and baby Mackenzie was soon healthy as could be.
Just last June, Ryan Zimmerman was out of the Nationals lineup and placed on the Paternity List. That first week of June their daughter, Hayden, was born.
5. She Helps With Ryan’s Charity, ziMS Foundation
No longer working in sales or television, Heather has spent a lot of her time helping run ziMS Foundation, the charity Ryan started. She is frequently tweeting about the good they do, as well as their many events.
Ryan Zimmerman founded ziMS Foundation in honor of his mother, who in 1995 was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He hopes to, as he says on their website, “find a cure for their unpredictable disease.” Most of what they do is volunteer-based, but Zimmerman, in 2009 and 2010, donated $200,000 to the foundation to help out as well.