"given his role on the team"
That's the key phrase to this whole argument, and I can't believe it's still going on. EM's job, as a cleanup hitter, was to drive in runs. If he has a high OBP, and he did, that's a bonus. I think, and this is just my opinion, everybody with an interest in Seattle during that time, would have sacrificed a little bit of AVG and OBP for more RBI. From 1995-2001, he averaged 110 RBI per season and ranked anywhere from 1st (00) to 36th (99). Given how good a hitter he was, theguys hitting in front of him, and the era he played in, his RBI total should have been higher. Again, that's just my opinion and I really didn't watch a lot of Mariner games then and still don't now. To provide a real example that I am more familiar with, I am a Phillies fan. I have had the pleasure (and there's some sarcasm there) of watching Ryan Howard for the last 8 or 9 years. He has always struck out a ton and only had 2 years, 06 and 07, where he had a really good OBP. Nobody cared b/c he was hitting 45 HR and driving in 145. He was the cleanup hitter and his job was to drive in runs. As long as he was doing that, nobody cared if he hit .250/.340. It was a bonus in 06 and 07 when he had an OBP around .400.
Now, I believe that EM would have been better served hitting in front of Rodriguez and Griffey. I think he was much better suited as a 2 or 3 hitter than a 4 or 5 hitter, but that is just me going off of the stats that I can see and the limited memory I have of watching him play