David Ortiz part of group formed to invest in baseball-specific companies

A group of former Major League Baseball players, including David Ortiz, announced on Wednesday the formation of a new private equity firm to invest in baseball-specific companies.

Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Barry Larkin, along with Ortiz, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells are the principal financial backers of the firm, called Dugout Ventures.

The firm is the latest in a trend of athletes investing in companies. Carmelo Anthony founded Melo7 Tech Partners in 2013, and Kobe Bryant announced a $100 million venture capital firm in August.

Dugout Ventures has already had its hand in two baseball-related brands. The company financed protection company EvoShield before it was sold to Amer Sports in October and also invested in bat company Marucci.

"Like Warren Buffett says, 'it's not what you know, but how realistic you are about what you don't know," Ortiz said in a statement. "We know baseball. But we plan on finding the best people in the business to help us on what we don't know."

In addition to the retired players' money, Dugout Ventures is inviting investors to finance up to $50 million in a fund of the company's investments.

Players aren't the only ones investing in sports; teams are as well. The Los Angeles Dodgers, for example, have two "accelerator" programs designed to boost young companies through financial backing.