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ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals have a rich tradition, but whether their prolonged success would endure would be seriously tested following their World Series championship in 2011.
Manager Tony La Russa decided to step down, but more shockingly three-time MVP Albert Pujols left the team that drafted and developed him for a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels.
The Cardinals would have to rely on their remaining roster, as well as an aging Carlos Beltran, who was added on a two-year $26 million deal.
In the two years Pujols has been in Anaheim, the Cardinals came within one game of the World Series in 2012 and are in the Fall Classic again this season, ready to face the Red Sox in Game 1 Wednesday night.