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Pujols agreed in 2004 to a $100 million, seven-year contract, a deal that _ with a 2011 option and bonuses _ wound up paying him $112.55 million over eight years.

“He left a pretty good impact over there. I don’t think fans will soon forget what his contributions were,” said former Cardinals manager and star Joe Torre, now an executive with Major League Baseball. “I still think the St. Louis fans are going to be more appreciative than angry.”

Pujols‘ agent, Dan Lozano, split off last year from the Beverly Hills Sports Council to form his own agency, and Pujols‘ negotiations seemed like an attempt to surpass A-Rod’s landmark $252 million contract, agreed to at the same hotel 11 years earlier.

Pujols rejected a multiyear extension last offseason that was said to include a small percentage of the franchise. He cut off negotiations on the first day of spring training.

“This is a footprint contract, because it follows the footprint laid by other great players,” said agent Scott Boras, who negotiated Rodriguez’s deals. “Putting a hitter like Albert Pujols in a big market, where he can be a DH, I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Pujols hit 37 home runs last season, running his 30-homer streak to 11 years, and batted .299 with 99 RBIs. He led the Cardinals‘ improbable late-season surge and became only the third player to hit three home runs in a World Series game following Ruth and Reggie Jackson.

Reaction around the major leagues was swift.

“For 2012, two wilds cards and no Albert Pujols. I’m happy,” said Sandy Alderson, general manager of the Cardinals‘ NL rival New York Mets.

Said former Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty, now GM of the NL Central rival Cincinnati Reds: “I’m a little surprised, I guess. I really thought he’d go back to St. Louis. It’s certainly good for our division.”