The Manitowoc Shipbuilders joined the Lake Michigan Circuit in 2000 and are now one of the senior members of the short-season league. The team's nickname honors the maritime history of the town. In 1847, the first wooden sailing ship built in Manitowoc was launched and a tradition of shipbuilding was born. 1852 saw the launch of the first Clipper Schooner built on the Great- Lakes. Manitowoc's prowess as a shipbuilding and commercial center quickly spread and the port became known as the "Clipper City" because it was an extremely busy port with a thriving shipbuilding industry. By 1900, more than 200 schooners, tugs and steamers had been built there. Between 1850-1880 there were as many as ten major shipbuilders in the city of Manitowoc. During WWII the town supplied the U.S. Navy with vessels to fight the Nazis. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum was founded in 1968 as the Manitowoc Maritime Museum to ensure that the maritime heritage of Manitowoc and the Great Lakes would not be forgotten.
The baseball Shipbuilders also remember the town's past. Their home uniforms resemble those of 19th century sailors and their caps are all white. At the end of team home stands, embarrassed players are often relieved at the prospect of away games.
From a player development perspective, the Manitowoc franchise offers the Greens a short-season league for those prospects not yet ready for the jump to Waterloo from New Boston. Like New Boston, Manitowoc is not managed by a player manager as are the Greens' full-season teams. Kiki Hirota, meet Vanity Rushing. What else links Manitowoc and New Boston? Buttons. Writing about Manitowoc in 1918, George W. Peck noted that Manitowoc hosted a "large factory where pearl buttons are made, with the immense daily output of 10,000." The button makers of New Boston were not known to have generated at such high levels. For that reason, New Boston buttons are particular prized by collectors, such as the late archivist of the Greens, Shirley Johnson.