St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and wife Elaine wave to the crowds during a parade honoring the World Championship team. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

St. Louis city officials estimated hundreds of thousands of Cardinals fans poured into the downtown area on Sunday to celebrate the franchise’s 11th championship. Parking was so tight, parade goers came from over two miles as the roads and off ramps of I-70, I-64 and I-55 into the city were jammed.

Manager Tony La Russa led the parade sitting at the front of a wagon pulled by the Budweiser Clydesdales, followed by a truck carrying owner Bill DeWitt Jr. who held onto to the World Series trophy.

St. Louis Cardinals fans celebrate the team's 11th World Championship in 2011 during a ceremony at Busch Stadium. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The players came through on trucks with Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Yadier Molina, Chris Carpenter and postseason hero David Freese receiving the loudest cheers. The parade ended inside Busch Stadium, in front of a sold-out crowd. At the podium, DeWitt spoke.

“This 11th Cardinals world championship will always be remembered as one of baseball’s greatest achievements.”

La Russa, talked about his team never giving up. “What these guys did so many times facing elimination, it’s a lesson for all of us. They never quit.”

Now the biggest question heading into the offseason is what is the future of first basemen Albert Pujols. The fans were vocal in wanting him to stay. When at the podium, Pujols was asked if he would like to be back for another celebration (12 in ’12). A small grin came to his face and he replied, “Hey, why not?”

Only time will tell.