Activist son of Jackie Robinson comes to make a pitch or two

David Robinson was taken aback when I asked him in the middle of a serious chat about serious issues if he had the arm strength to reach home plate from the mound Thursday at Target Field when the Twins host the Detroit Tigers.

“I thought I was going to be the catcher,” he quipped about throwing the ceremonial first pitch. “I do know that, even if it’s on a roll, I will get it there.”

Robinson, a social activist, businessman and coffee farmer who has lived in Tanzania for more than three decades, is in town this week to volunteer for, shake the tree for and generate more awareness about Books for Africa. Founded in 1988 by Tom Warth, the St. Paul-based nonprofit has shipped and distributed more than 35 million books to 49 countries. Over 2.4 million books, 665 computers and 200 e-readers containing 1.6 million digital books were delivered so far this year to 21 African countries.